Marriage On The Decline

Tons of new Census data out today, some of it summarized by the New York Times alongside some amusing cartoons. I thought this series was interesting:

Apparently gay marriage in a handful of states has already ruined things.

Joking aside, I’m not sure people always take due account of this sort of thing when looking at trends in recent American history. I’m not the type to get nostalgic about the good old days of patriarchy, but the fact of the matter is that from a strictly economic point of view a married couple household is a much more efficient arrangement than the one-adult alternative. So if you look at any kind of strictly economic trend, part of what you’re seeing is a growing tendency for lower-efficiency, but possibly higher happiness, living arrangements—divorce, extended singledom, etc.