Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies


The marriage statistics for South Dakota from 1960 to 1970 reveal that the number of marriages has steadily increased since 1960. The number of births, however, has steadily decreased in number in South Dakota since 1960. Perhaps this is understandable inasmuch as Paul H. Jacobson points out that the analysis and interpretation of marriage statistics is the least developed branch of American vital statistics. This is an important area for study, however, because any community is highly influenced by the proportion of its population that is single, married, widowed, or divorced. The marital condition of a population influences its birth rate, thus producing changes in the composition of the population. Marital status composition of the population is a demographic factor that helps produce population change and influence local community life. Marital status has great importance for group survival through childbearing, for it is generally accepted that it is through the legal cohabiting of males and females that childbearing is generally approved and accepted. Because of this, the rate of marriages together with their dissolution are vital processes, and statistics of marriage and divorce are vital statistics. Besides affecting the birthrate, marital status also affects other community processes such as: labor force participation, school attendance, urban-rural residence, and many other important processes. David Glass summarizes the importance of marital status data in the following terms: "It is through the intervening variable of marriage that replacement indices become sociologically meaningful. In the more developed societies, recent changes in the level and trend of fertility owe much to changes in the amount of, and age at, marriage." A final indication of the importance of this problem is the emphasis placed upon it-by the state legislature. This year two House bills (HB have been introduced that will place tighter restrictions on marriages solemnized in South Dakota. The new bills ask for a three-day waiting period for remarriage after filing for a divorce. In actuality, the six months amounts to four months because it takes two months before a divorce becomes final, leaving four more months before the parties involved could remarry. Knowledge generated by the study of this problem may assist in the area planning of various governmental, educational, economic, religious, and recreational agencies in South Dakota for the coming year. It is also hoped that it may bring about some standardization of the marriage laws of the various states, because some states are indicating they will not recognize those marriages where couples cross state lines to marry to avoid their home state laws on marriage.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Marriage -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University