Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 86.djvu/554

This page has been validated.
550
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

THE CELIBATE WOMEN OF TO-DAY

PHILADELPHIA, PA.

THERE were in the United States, in 1910, 8,924,056 women, over fifteen years of age, who were neither married, widowed nor divorced. These single women represent twenty-nine and seven tenths per cent. of all the women over fifteen years of age in the United States at that time. Many of these women have since married or will marry; but at every age there remains a large number of unmarried women facing a life of celibacy. Thus of native-born white women between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-four, thirty and six tenths per cent. are unmarried, while of the same class, between the ages of thirty-four and forty-four, seventeen and eight tenths per cent. are still single. The public school teachers of America, alone, number nearly 400,000 mature women, hardly any of whom are married. Why do they not marry, and what compensations can a life of celibacy bring them?

In the first place, it is a mistake to imagine, as most people do, that the emancipation of women since 1870 has tended to discourage marriage. The contrary is true. In 1890, but sixty-eight and one tenth per cent. of American women of fifteen years of age were married, or had been married; in 1900, this proportion had risen to sixty-eight and six tenths per cent.; and in 1910, it was seventy and three tenths per cent. Higher education, industrial independence and increasing participation in social and political life have apparently increased the tendency of women to marry. But why, since they have so rapidly taken possession of nearly everything else, have they not more generally taken possession of husbands?

The widespread belief that there are not enough men to go around is another old superstition. The men have outnumbered the women in the United States at every decennial census since 1820. In 1910, there were in the whole country 2,692,288 more males than females. Of course, this is partly due to the fact that more male than female immigrants come here to work.

But even among the native-born whites, there were in 1910, 922,502 more males than females. In that year there were 102.7 white native born males to each 100 native-born females. Only in Massachusetts, Maryland and North and South Carolina was there an excess of females. Counting only the people over twenty-one years of age, there were 110 males to each 100 females in 1910; and even among the native-born whites there were 106.8 males to each 100 females over twenty-one years of age.