By Morton Marcus
Pristina Plowmouth objected to last week’s column in this space that contribution to social and economic awareness focused on the growing phenomenon of people living alone.
“Disheartening,” she said, calling from her estate in Hamilton County.
“People living alone are the tragic residue of society’s dissolution. It is the inevitable consequence of delayed marriage, divorce, inappropriate abortion, excessive consumption from bloated incomes, an unfortunate, yet foreseeable outcome, of misguided female emancipation, disregard of traditional generational integration, and blind obsession with personal gratification above familial obligation.”
“Thank you,” was all I could reply. “You’ll delight in this week’s offering about unmarried couples living together.”
“Where did you obtain such scandalous statistics?” she huffed.
“Please, abstain from asking me to give credence to dirty data.”
“Don’t you want to know how many such households are in Hamilton County?” I asked and answered before she could reply.
“There were over 4,600 unmarried-partner households with opposite sex couples in your county in 2015, according to the Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey. That’s just 4.1 percent of all households in the county. So, among Indiana’s 25 most populous counties, Hamilton ranked seventh in the number of such households, but 23rd in the percent of all households.”
“Vile!” her voice quivered with rage. “Don’t tell me more.”
Nevertheless, I said, “The Census Bureau doesn’t give us a figure for households in Hamilton County where same-sex partners reside. But I figure the number to be fewer than 60.”
“Oh, let that be the case,” Pristina implored. After some deep gasps, she said, “I imagine the college counties were the most immoral with all those young people and the older, hippie faculty that never grew to accept responsibility.”
“Sorry,” I reported. “Morgan County led the passion parade at nine percent of all households housing unmarried same-sex partners. Tippecanoe was third at eight percent, then Marion and Delaware at 7.1 percent, Monroe at 6.5 and Vigo at 6.4 percent.”
“Was there no place of purity?” she moaned.
“Hancock County was last of the 25 most populous counties with 2.9 percent of households.”
“And then, there is still that other kind,” her voice trailed off.
“Yes; Survey says,” (I always wanted to say that,) “in addition to the 90,000 Hoosiers who are partners in non-family households, there are 69,000 partners in family households.”
“Horrors! Where there may be children present?” she exclaimed.
“Yes, that’s the way it is,” I said. “We have about 159,000 or 6 percent of Hoosier households with unmarried couples involving 318,000 persons or five percent of Indiana’s population.”
“That’s grotesque,” Pristina proclaimed. “What’s happened to our morals, our standards, our traditions?”
“Maybe they haven’t changed,” I suggested. “The past may not have been what we imagined.”
“What are we going to do about these …..?” she couldn’t find the word.
“People,” I said. “Try giving them our blessing and wish them happiness.”
Morton Marcus is an economist, formerly with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.