Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Marriages, divorces declined in 2011

State releases annual Vital Statistics report

Express Staff Writer

The first baby born in the Wood River Valley in 2011, Victor Otto Johnson, is nurtured by his parents, Kristin, center, and Caleb. Express file photo

The 2011 marriage rate in Idaho was at its lowest in 60 years, though still higher than the national rate, according to a recently released study.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare last week released its Vital Statistics 2011, a compilation of data on population, births, deaths, stillbirths, marriages, divorces and abortions for the state.

The U.S. marriage rate in2010 (the most recent year available) was 6.8 marriages per 1,000 people, lower than Idaho’s 8.6 marriages per 1,000 people in 2011. Idaho’s rate was down only slightly from 8.8 marriages per 1,000 in 2010.

The study states that most of the discrepancy can be accounted for by Idaho’s high rate of nonresident marriages, especially in northern Idaho. Fifty-five percent of the marriages performed in District 1, which covers much of northern Idaho, were for nonresidents.

The decline in marriage in Idaho is indicative of a national trend, and a recent study shows that more young people are putting off marriage. 

A report titled “Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America,” a study from the National Campaign to prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, states that the median age of marriage for women is nearly 27. That’s up from 25 years of age for women in 2000 and just under 24 years of age in 1990.

Idaho’s median age of marriage (not just first marriage) for the 13,696 women who married in 2011 was also just under 27. Of those, more than 1,300 married between the ages of 15 and 19. Nine of those women had already been divorced. 

The largest group of women marrying was the 20-to-24 age range; 3,885 women in that group married in 2011. Ninety-one percent were previously single.

The number of divorces occurring in Idaho decreased 4.5 percent, from 8,136 in 2010 to 7,733 in 2011. The oldest male divorcee was 95; the oldest female divorcee was 91. The youngest male divorcee was 17, and the youngest female divorcee was also 17. 

The duration of the longest marriage that ended in divorce was 62 years, up from last year’s 59 years. The shortest marriage that ended in divorce lasted 11 days. March saw the highest number of divorces, 784. February saw the lowest number at 583.

Data showed that women were leaving the state to have abortions. In 2011, more than 2,000 Idaho residents had abortions, but only 1,440 of those women had their abortions in Idaho.

Between 98 and 99 percent of women who had abortions and live in the Panhandle left the state; the nearest Planned Parenthood clinics in that area are across the state line in Spokane and Pullman. Women throughout much of the central part of the state, including the Boise region and Valley, Elmore, Custer, Lemhi and Canyon counties, tended to stay in the state; between 4 and 5 percent left the region to have abortions performed. 

Sixty-six percent of women in District 5, which includes Blaine County, who had abortions did so out of state.

The number of out-of-wedlock births in the state dropped 4 percent, from 6,143 in 2010 to 5,898 in 2011. The percentage of out-of-wedlock births was 26.4 percent, far below the national average of 40 percent in 2010.

Fifteen babies were born to women under the age of 15; none were in District 5. Eight of those births occurred in District 3, which includes Adams, Washington, Payette, Gem, Canyon and Owyhee counties.

Blaine County saw 213 live births in 2011; five were to mothers between the ages of 15 and 19. One hundred and nine babies were male, and 104 were female.

Ninety-five percent of pregnant women had their first prenatal visit in the first or second trimester of pregnancy, between one and six months. However, 138 expectant mothers in Idaho in 2011 received no prenatal care, and 924 did not have their first prenatal care visit until the third trimester.

Kate Wutz:




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