10 20th-Century Staples We Never Thought Would Die

Marriage rates have been steadily declining since the 1940s, although most Americans still think it is important. SashaHaltam/Getty Images

Bridezillas might be on the way out — because marriage appears to be a dying institution. America's marriage rate has been steadily declining since the middle of the 20th century. In 1946, 16.4 out of every 1,000 people wed, a 20th century high. By 2014, that number had plunged to a mere 6.9 out of 1,000 [sources: CDC, CDC].

Interestingly, surveys show most Americans are either married or do want to get married. Yet, a growing number of people — mainly younger adults — don't really think marriage is all that important. One 2013 survey revealed 64 percent of Americans feel marriage is very or somewhat important when either two people intend to spend the rest of their lives together, or if they have a child together. In 2006, the percentages who felt this way were over 70 [source: Newport and Wilke].

The drop in marriage rates is said to be due to a variety of factors. First, some people fear their marriage will simply end in divorce, as 40 to 50 percent of first marriages do, so they refuse to tie the knot. Some are delaying marriage until they achieve certain educational or income goals. And many couples simply prefer living together. With a similar decline in religious affiliation occurring, there's less incentive for many to wed, too.

The declining marriage rate is rather ironic, as same-sex couples struggled for decades to obtain the right to wed, and finally achieved it in 2016.