Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Andrew J. Cherlin

From a Q & A with Andrew J. Cherlin, author of The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today:

Q: What led you to write THE MARRIAGE-GO-ROUND?

A: I had the sense that American marriage and family life differed fundamentally from the other Western countries—Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand—in a way no one was writing about. Some observers have focused on changes in marriage, others on divorce, and others on non-marital births. But I realized that you have to look at the whole picture—all of these aspects together—to appreciate what was happening. We have more marriages and remarriages, more divorces, and more short-term cohabiting (living together) relationships than the other countries. Put them together and you have more turnover, more movement in and out of relationships than anywhere else. As a result, Americans have more spouses and live-in partners over the course of their lives than do people in any other Western country. We step on and off the carousel of marriages and partnerships faster than anywhere else.

Q: You were already well versed in the subject of marriage in America, as you have been studying families and public policy for much of your career. Did any of your discoveries surprise you as you wrote THE MARRIAGE-GO-ROUND?

A: I knew that our divorce rate was higher than in other countries, but I didn’t realize how much higher than even in supposedly vanguard countries such as Sweden. One statistic that stunned me:...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue