Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jemma Lorenat

Reader 2

Sam Nelson

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The United States has been tracking American marriage statistics since its founding. According to the United States Census Bureau, “marital status and marital history data help federal agencies understand marriage trends, forecast future needs of programs that have spousal benefits, and measure the effects of policies and programs that focus on the well-being of families, including tax policies and financial assistance programs.”[1] With such a wide scope of applications, it is understandable why marriage statistics are so highly studied and well-documented.

This thesis will analyze American marriage patterns over the past 100 years as documented in the Journal of the Statistical Association, noting the changes between overall trends and which variables are analyzed and providing historical context. I will be focusing on three primary areas of interest: childbearing and fertility, women, and race.

[1] “Why We Ask Questions About... Marital Status / Marital History.” United States Census Bureau. Accessed March 10, 2022.