The Charts Below Give Information About USA Marriage

The charts below give information about USA marriage and divorce rates between 1970 and 2000, and the marital status of adult Americans in two of the years.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

This essay question is from Cambridge IELTS 6 Test 4 Writing Task 1.

Number of marriages and divorces in the USA, 1970—2000

number of marriages and divorces in the usa ielts

Marital status of adult Americans, 1970 and 2000

marital status of adult americans ielts

Sample Essay

The first chart shows the numbers of marriages and divorces in the USA between 1970 and 2000, while the second chart illustrates the marital status of adult Americans in 1970 and 2000.

Overall, while the number of marriages decreased over the 30 years, that of divorces remained relatively unchanged. In both 1970 and 2000, a significantly higher percentage of adults were married than otherwise.

There were 2.5 million marriages in 1970 and 1980. However, this dropped to 2 million in 2000. The number of divorces, in comparison, hovered between 1 and 1.5 million.

In both 1970 and 2000, most adults were married. They accounted for 70% of adult Americans in 1970, although this proportion declined to just under 60% in 2000. The proportion of never-married adults, on the other hand, increased from approximately 15% to 20%. Fewer than 5% of adults were divorced in 1970, but this rose sharply to nearly 10 percent in 2000. Those widowed represented about 5%-7% of adult Americans in both years. (169 Words)

Marriage Rates

Note that the introductory text uses the term “marriage and divorce rate“. This is correct because “number per year” is a rate. However, I’ve consulted native speakers and they didn’t recommend using “rate” to describe the first chart. This is because the first chart doesn’t mention “per year”, nor does it use “rate” in its title; it just uses a year as its period of measurement.
  • In 1970, there were 2.5 million marriages.
  • In 1970, the marriage rate was 2.5 million marriages per year.

7 CommentsLeave A Comment

  1. Hi Lilie, Firstly, thank you for creating this productive blog and your kindness. I would like to ask you that what is the difference between “NUMBER of marriages and divorces” and “NUMBERS of marriages and divorces”, please.

    1. Hi, thanks for your comments. The number of marriages is a variable that can take different values in different time frames. When you have two variables, one being the number of marriages and the other one being the number of divorces, then you can use the plural numbers of marriages and divorces. I can’t explain the use of the singular number of A and B. But I can promise you that numbers of A and B is correct. I use it to show the examiner that I understand there are two variables in the chart. Hope it helps.

  2. “Despite a sharp growth of nearly 8% in the proportion of divorced adults, this figure never exceeded 10%” Mam, are there any grammatical mistakes in the line above?

    1. Hi, “8%” is wrong because you’re talking about a percentage increase. If you use a percentage increase calculator to calculate, you will know the percentage of divorced adults grew by 800%, not 8%. If you want to show an absolute increase, you should use “percentage points”: an increase of 8 percentage points. Hope this helps.

  3. Mam, I didn’t understand the last word of your overall paragraph “than othereise”. Its unfamiliar for me. Could you please explain it a little bit?

    1. Hi, that sentence means that a significantly higher percentage of adults were married than never married, widowed or divorced. Hope this helps.

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