December 21, 2008

Marriage is not recession proof, let alone weddings

As the financial condition of the country worsens, the wedding industry, so long considered recession-proof, is seeing fairy-tale weddings stripped of their sprites, their sparkle and everything else that suggests splurge. (from the New York Times, "Recession? Time to Slash the Flower Budget"

This puzzled me. Last time we had a long and severe depression marriages plummeted, as you can see from the figure below. Perhaps the current recession will be different. We are starting from income levels significantly above those of 1929. The magnitude of people's reactions to the current recession will be different than in 1929, though the direction may be similar. There is now, as the same NYT article, suggests greater policy support for marriage with tax and health insurance arrangements prodding people into formalizing relationships that might otherwise just be people living together.

Source: Historical Statistics of the United States, Tables AE507-508.

Posted by eroberts at 9:01 PM