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50 Years Ago

Science Past from the issue of July 4, 1959

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Brides and grooms are younger than ever — Today’s brides and grooms are younger than any others in the nation’s history, the Population Reference Bureau reported. The average age for first marriages in the U.S. last year was 23 for men and 20 for women. More girls married at 18 than at any other age. In 1890, men averaged 26 at first marriage and women averaged 22. Since then, the average age has been declining slowly but steadily.… The Bureau offered no reason for the trend toward early marriages. Factors believed to contribute, however, are the nation’s continued economic prosperity, teen-agers “going steady” at progressively younger ages, and a significant percentage of pre-marital pregnancies in young girls.

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