James Lileks has a few thoughts on this New York Times article that has a lot of people talking because it cites a study saying that for the first time a majority of American women are unmarried. But see if you can catch the incongruity that Lileks saw right off.
Among the more than 117 million women over the age of 15, according to the marital status category in the Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey, 63 million are married. Of those, 3.1 million are legally separated and 2.4 million said their husbands were not living at home for one reason or another.
That brings the number of American women actually living with a spouse to 57.5 million, compared with the 59.9 million who are single or whose husbands were not living at home when the survey was taken in 2005.
Is it supposed to surprise us that 15-, 16-, and 17-year-old girls are unmarried? Is that even legal in most states?
But even more than the funny business with the numbers—which is why you should never trust statistics cited in any article until you find out the methodology—is the tone of the piece, which seems to celebrate, not women who never marry, but women who shed their husbands and family in a quest for the elusive goal of “self-actualization.”
Updated: See below the jump.