Men raised in "traditional" family households are more likely to marry

Men raised in "traditional" family households are more likely to marry than those from nontraditional households, according to a nationwide survey by the National Marriage Project at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Men from families with both biological parents present and who are religiously observant are more likely to marry than those from nontraditional and nonreligious backgrounds, according to "The Marrying Kind: Which Men Marry and Why." The study is featured in "The State of Our Unions: The Social Health of Marriage in America 2004," a report released today and issued annually by the National Marriage Project. Opinion Research Corp. of Princeton interviewed 1,000 single and married heterosexual males, ages 25-34, for the study.

Among the unmarried men surveyed, 55 percent from traditional households said they "would be ready to marry tomorrow if the right person came along," compared to 43 percent from other kinds of family backgrounds. Unmarried men who attend religious services several times a month, and those who say their fathers were very involved in their upbringing are more "ready" to wed than men who are not religious and whose fathers were not involved in their lives.

The survey also found that married and unmarried men from traditional family and religious backgrounds have more positive attitudes toward women, children and marriage.

"The findings suggest that the experience of growing up with both parents is an important factor influencing young men's desires for, and confidence in, marriage," said David Popenoe, a Rutgers sociology professor and co-director of the National Marriage Project.

The survey also identified a small but significant percentage of unmarried men who might be considered poor candidates for marriage. Two of 10 unmarried male respondents reported a low personal desire for marriage and displayed negative attitudes toward women, children and the institution of marriage itself.

These marriage-phobic men were more likely than other unmarried men in the survey sample to have come from nontraditional families, to be nonreligious, and to have fathers who were not involved in their lives, according to the survey.

"Young women often find the search for a marriage partner daunting and confusing, since not everyone in the partner market is interested in marriage," says Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, the project's co-director. "These findings may help marriage-minded women identify the men who are most likely to be the marrying kind."

Other key findings in the survey about men's attitudes toward marriage include:

  • 94 percent of married men say that they are happier being married than being single.
  • 73 percent of married men say their sex lives are better since getting married, and 68 percent say marriage has helped them become more financially stable.
  • Only 36 percent of unmarried men agree "single men have better sex lives than married men."
  • Two-thirds of all young men surveyed disagree with the statement that "the main purpose of marriage is to have children."

The National Marriage Project is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian, interdisciplinary initiative that provides information on social trends affecting marriage. Researchers analyzed a wide range of data for the report. Previous reports include, "Why Men Won't Commit: Exploring Young Men's Attitudes About Sex, Dating and Marriage" and "Who Wants to Marry a Soul Mate?"

http://www.rutgers.edu/

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