Contemporary Marriage in the United States

Contemporary Marriage in the United States

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University of California – Berkeley




1) Answer the following questions about contemporary marriage in the U.S. It is very important for your grade for this question that you reference class readings to support your answers and clearly indicate where information and arguments are coming from. You should be bringing in material from a minimum of three different readings to answer these questions. The best responses will be able to show mastery of this material by synthesizing information from a variety of different sources from the class reading list.

– What are current trends in marriage and what researchers call “alternatives to marriage”? Describe the central themes.

– What conditions need to be in place for the typical U.S. couple to marry?

-What does marriage mean for people today? What do they expect from it?

– What major differences are there, if any, in these patterns (from the three questions above) by social class, sexual orientation and race/ethnicity?

2) Please read the following short article “California Is Seeing A COVID-19 Baby Bust. What is Causing It?” (Links to an external site.)by Sonja Sharp. Los Angeles Times, May 24, 2021

Covid Baby Bust article_Exam 2.pdf

The article highlights several themes that our course readings provide additional context for understanding. Choose three themes from the list below. Very briefly, explain how each shows up in the article. Then, for each theme, bring in additional context from course materials that help to answer the question asked in the article’s title “what is causing it?” The bulk of your answer should focus on providing this context and making connections between material in the readings and the themes you choose. Make sure to reference class readings to support your responses.


-Declining fertility rates in industrialized countries.

-Social and family policies.

-What people think are appropriate conditions for childbearing, and their ability to reach them.

-Economic and other social structural factors.

-A cultural focus on individualism.