Holland is a city in the western region of the Lower Peninsula of the U. S. state of Michigan. It is situated near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan on Lake Macatawa, fed by the Macatawa River; the city spans the Ottawa/Allegan county line, with 9.08 square miles in Ottawa and the remaining 8.13 square miles in Allegan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,051, with an Urbanized Area population of 113,164, Holland, MI Urbanized Area as of 2015, ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates: Holland is the largest city in Ottawa County, as of 2013 part of the Grand Rapids-Wyoming-Muskegon Metropolitan Statistical Area. Holland was founded by Dutch Americans, is in an area that has a large percentage of citizens of Dutch American heritage, it is home to Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, institutions of the Reformed Church in America. In February of 1996 the Holland City Council approved a sister city relationship between Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro and the City of Holland, Michigan, USA.
Ottawa County was populated by Ottawa Indians. In 1846, Reverend Alex Tomasik established the Old Wing Mission as an outreach to the native population. Holland was settled in 1847 by Dutch Calvinist separatists, under the leadership of Dr. Albertus van Raalte. Dire economic conditions in the Netherlands compelled them to emigrate, while their desire for religious freedom led them to unite and settle together as a group. Van Raalte and his colony settled on land in the midst of the Ottawa people's Old Wing Mission Colony near the Black River where it streamed to Black Lake which, in turn, led to Lake Michigan. Joint occupation by the two communities was not a marriage made in heaven; the Dutch settlers purchased the land from the natives, who moved north in an effort to preserve their way of life and culture. In 1848, Michigan suffered from a smallpox epidemic. In consideration of the massive influx settlers into the Ottawa County area, Chief Peter Waukazoo and Reverend George Smith decided to move the community as well as the Holland-area Ottawa Mission from Holland up to Northport via on boats and canoes.
In Holland's early history, Van Raalte was a spiritual leader, as well as overseeing political and financial matters. In 1847 Van Raalte established a congregation of the Reformed Church in America, which would be called the First Reformed Church of Holland. On March 25, 1867, Holland was incorporated as a city with Isaac Cappon being the city's first mayor; the city suffered a major fire on October 8–9, 1871, the same time as the Great Chicago Fire in Illinois and the deadly Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin. Because of the Great Michigan Fire and Port Huron, Michigan burned at the same time. Holland was known as the "City of Churches." There are 170 churches in the greater Holland area, many of which are with the Reformed Church in America and Christian Reformed Church in North America denominations. The city is the home to the church that started the trend of the "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelets in 1989. In 1987, a 23-year-old City Council member Phil Tanis was elected mayor of Holland, becoming its youngest mayor while he was still a Hope College student.
The city is best known for its Dutch heritage, which serves not only as a part of the city's cultural identity, but the local economy as well: the Tulip Time Festival in May and various Dutch-themed attractions augment the nearby Lake Michigan shoreline in attracting thousands of tourists annually. The Holland Museum contains exhibits about the city's history. Another, the Cappon House Museum, was built in 1874 and is a historic museum that once housed the first mayor of Holland, Dutch immigrant Isaac Cappon; the Settlers House Museum, a building that survived the great fire, contains furnishings and relics from the 19th Century. Holland's downtown is listed in the National Register of Historic Places; the "Snowmelt Project" established pipes transporting warm water from the nearby power plant to travel underneath downtown with the purpose of clearing the streets and sidewalks in the downtown area of any snow. Nearby Holland State Park is a Michigan State Park. Across the channel from the State Park is the Holland Harbor Light, known as "Big Red."
De Zwaan, an original 250-year-old Dutch windmill, is situated on a municipal park. Its height is 125 feet with 40-foot sails. Holland boasts an annual Fiesta, organized by Latin Americans United for Progress on the Saturday closest to May 5. Holland is host to the annual Tulipanes Latino Art & Film Festival, held to celebrate the Latino contribution to the culture. In 2013, Farmer's Insurance named the Holland/Grand Haven Area the most secure mid-sized city in the United States. In 2010, Holland was ranked the second healthiest/happiest town in the United States by the Well-being Index. In 2006, CNN Money named Holland as one of the top five places to retire; each May Holland hosts an annual Tulip Time Festival. Tulip planting and the festival began in 1930. Six million tulips are used throughout the city. Tulips are planted along many city streets, in city parks and outside municipal buildings as well as at tourist attractions like Dutch Village, the city-owned Windmill Island Gardens, at a large tulip farm named Veldheer Tulip Gardens.
It is held the second week of May, during to the tulip blooming season. Cruise ships such as the Yorktown from the Great Lakes Cruising Company make Holland a port of call. About one million tourists visit Tulip Time each year, for which the community finds innovat
Lake Macatawa is a lake in Ottawa County in the U. S. state of Michigan. The lake is about 6 miles long with a maximum width of 1.2 miles and a surface area of 1,700 acres The average depth of the lake is variable but less than 10 feet, excluding a navigation channel of fixed depth that crosses the lake to allow deep draft ships to access the dock at the City of Holland. The lake occupies portions of Park Township, Holland Township, the City of Holland; the lake contains two bays of significant size: Big Bay, the smaller Pine Creek Bay to the east. The lake is the drowned river mouth of the Macatawa River, which feeds into the lake's eastern end in the City of Holland. Other tributaries include Pine Creek, which feeds into Pine Creek Bay, Winstrom Creek, which feeds into Big Bay; the lake discharges into Lake Michigan at the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers channel near Holland State Park; the lake and its watershed encompass 114,560 acres of Allegan counties. The eastern end of the lake is marked by industrial development within the City of Holland, includes a coal-fired power plant, scrap metal recycling facility, environmental research facility owned by Michigan State University, aggregate mineral loading dock, a pickle production facility owned by the H.
J. Heinz company; the remainder of the lakeshore is marked by high-income residential development, with the notable exception of Holland State Park which borders the northern shoreline of the western end of the lake, Howard B. Dunton park on the north shore of the eastern end, Kollen Park near the Heinz factory, which connects to a boardwalk installed along the shoreline occupied by the facility. List of lakes in Michigan Michigan DNR map of Lake Macatawa
Grand Haven, Michigan
Grand Haven is a city in the U. S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Ottawa County known as Grand Heaven.. Grand Haven is located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Grand River, for which it is named; as of the 2010 census, Grand Haven had a population of 10,412. It is part of the Grand Rapids Metropolitan Area, which had a population of 1,027,703 in 2014; the city is home to the Grand Haven Memorial Airpark and is located just north of Grand Haven Charter Township. The Potawatomi and Ottawa Indians lived in the area for centuries and used the river as a trade route into the interior of Michigan; some of the long culture of the Ottawa tribe is being revealed through the excavation of archeological artifacts. The city dates its European-American founding to French colonial settlers. A fur trading outpost called Gabagouache was first established by Madeline La Framboise and her husband Joseph. After the War of 1812, this area became more settled by Americans; the first permanent resident was a Presbyterian minister, William Montague Ferry, who founded in 1834 the first area church and neighboring town of Ferrysburg.
Residents named the town as "Grand Haven" in 1835. Sheldon Tannery was founded in 1838, developing to process leathers from cattle; the second church was organized in 1850. Ferry founded the city's first bank in 1851 in the Son building on Harbor Drive, he started a school, Ferry Elementary, which continues to operate. The city was incorporated in 1867. In the mid-to-late 19th century, Grand Haven developed as a logging, lumber mill and shipping town, as well as a shipbuilding center; the city was served by the Grand Trunk Railway. Its depot and offices have been adapted for use as a historical museum; the Story and Clark Piano Company built pianos in the city from 1900-1984. The smokestack at the piano factory collapsed during the Southern Great Lakes Derecho of 1998. In August 2006, Eagle-Ottawa Leather Co. which developed from the 1838 Sheldon Tannery, announced it would close its local operations that year. Given the importance of shipping and water trade to the city, the Grand Haven Lighthouses were built in 1839 on the south pier, to mark the most navigable channel into the river.
The current lighthouses, painted red, were built in 1875 and 1905. They are connected by a lighted catwalk. George "Baby Face" Nelson and Homer Van Meter, who became notorious 1930s criminals, committed their first bank robbery at a Grand Haven bank; the Grand Haven port community is an active beach resort with boating, sailing, skating etc. along with connecting campgrounds and recreational areas. The city has over 100 miles of bike trails, a state beach, two lighthouses, a pier, large charter fishing fleet and a Great Lakes port, where it imports limestone, slag and coal while exporting sand. Grand Haven is a destination point for residents of inland cities of West Michigan, as well as many from the other side of the state. Grand Rapidians visit to take advantage of the close proximity to the Lake Michigan beaches, State campgrounds, bars, attractions with many owning cottages in the area as their home away from home. Grand Haven State Park was nationally recognized for having one of the top five beaches in the United States, by Good Morning America - Travel Mom.
In summer, water temperatures do reach the low 70s°F, bringing tens of thousands of visitors as a boon to the local economy. The state park includes a campground on Lake Michigan, near the pier and lighthouses. In addition, the city features a skate park; the waterfront locations bring tourists from all over the state and region for activities which include, sailing, jet skiing, wind surfing, an annual kite festival. Grand Haven is home to the United States Coast Guard's "Sector Field Office Grand Haven." The first Coast Guard presence in the city was in 1924. The Coast Guard cutter Escanaba was based in the city until the Second World War. After it was sunk by a U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine, the citizens of Grand Haven raised more than $1,000,000 in bonds to build a replacement cutter bearing the same name. Grand Haven hosts the annual Coast Guard Festival, a celebration based on Coast Guard Day, which draws U. S. and Canadian vessels along with parades of bands and other activities, including a memorial to the 101 sailors lost in the Escanaba sinking.
The yearly attendance for this event exceeds 300,000 people over the two-week period of the festival. Grand Haven is the first city designated as Coast Guard City, USA by an act of Congress signed by President Bill Clinton; the act was Public Law 105-383 enacted by the United States Congress and signed by the president on November 13, 1998. The Grand Haven Musical Fountain was built on the opposite bank of the Grand River from the city center in 1969, it plays nightly during the tourist season. When it was built, it was the world's largest such fountain. Today, the overall largest fountain is in Las Vegas. Grand Haven has been one of many technology leaders in West Michigan and throughout the country, having been featured in the national media, including on ABC, in PCWorld, ComputerWorld and Forbes magazine; the city was the first municipality in the country to feature a citywide wireless internet service. The wireless service is designed to work throughout the city and up to 15 miles offshore for boaters.
In 2004, the city started offering wireless internet service for residents and visitors for payment on varying cost
In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land, not governed by a local municipal corporation. Municipalities dissolve or disincorporate, which may happen if they become fiscally insolvent, services become the responsibility of a higher administration. Widespread unincorporated communities and areas are a distinguishing feature of the United States and Canada. In most other countries of the world, there are either no unincorporated areas at all, or these are rare. Unlike many other countries, Australia has only one level of local government beneath state and territorial governments. A local government area contains several towns and entire cities. Thus, aside from sparsely populated areas and a few other special cases all of Australia is part of an LGA. Unincorporated areas are in remote locations, cover vast areas or have small populations. Postal addresses in unincorporated areas, as in other parts of Australia use the suburb or locality names gazetted by the relevant state or territorial government.
Thus, there is any ambiguity regarding addresses in unincorporated areas. The Australian Capital Territory is in some sense an unincorporated area; the territorial government is directly responsible for matters carried out by local government. The far west and north of New South Wales constitutes the Unincorporated Far West Region, sparsely populated and warrants an elected council. A civil servant in the state capital manages such matters; the second unincorporated area of this state is Lord Howe Island. In the Northern Territory, 1.45% of the total area and 4.0% of the population are in unincorporated areas, including Unincorporated Top End Region, areas covered by the Darwin Rates Act—Nhulunbuy, Alyangula on Groote Eylandt in the northern region, Yulara in the southern region. In South Australia, 60% of the area is unincorporated and communities located within can receive municipal services provided by a state agency, the Outback Communities Authority. Victoria has 10 small unincorporated areas, which are either small islands directly administered by the state or ski resorts administered by state-appointed management boards.
Western Australia is exceptional in two respects. Firstly, the only remote area, unincorporated is the Abrolhos Islands, uninhabited and controlled by the WA Department of Fisheries. Secondly, the other unincorporated areas are A-class reserves either in, or close to, the Perth metropolitan area, namely Rottnest Island and Kings Park. In Canada, depending on the province, an unincorporated settlement is one that does not have a municipal council that governs over the settlement, it is but not always, part of a larger municipal government. This can range from small hamlets to large urbanized areas that are similar in size to towns and cities. For example, the urban service areas of Fort McMurray and Sherwood Park, of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Strathcona County would be the fifth and sixth largest cities in Alberta if they were incorporated. In British Columbia, unincorporated settlements lie outside municipal boundaries and are administered directly by regional/county-level governments similar to the American system.
Unincorporated settlements with a population of between 100 and 1,000 residents may have the status of designated place in Canadian census data. In some provinces, large tracts of undeveloped wilderness or rural country are unorganized areas that fall directly under the provincial jurisdiction; some unincorporated settlements in such unorganized areas may have some types of municipal services provided to them by a quasi-governmental agency such as a local services board in Ontario. In New Brunswick where a significant population live in a Local Service District and services may come directly from the province; the entire area of the Czech Republic is divided into municipalities, with the only exception being 4 military areas. These are parts of the regions and do not form self-governing municipalities, but are rather governed by military offices, which are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense. † Brdy Military Area was abandoned by the Army in 2015 and converted into Landscape park, with its area being incorporated either into existing municipalities or municipalities newly established from the existing settlements.
The other four Military Areas were reduced in size in 2015 too. The decisions on whether the settlements join existing municipalities or form new ones are decided in plebiscites. Since Germany has no administrative level comparable to the townships of other countries, the vast majority of the country, close to 99%, is organized in municipalities consisting of multiple settlements which are not considered to be unincorporated; because these settlements lack a council of their own, there is an Ortsvorsteher / Ortsvorsteherin appointed by the municipal council, except in the smallest villages. In 2000, the number of unincorporated areas in Germany, called gemeindefreie Gebiete or singular gemeindefreies Gebiet, was 295 with a total area of 4,890.33 km² and around 1.4% of its territory. However
Chester Township, Ottawa County, Michigan
Chester Township is a civil township of Ottawa County in the U. S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 United States Census, the township population was 2,315. There are no incorporated municipalities within the township. There are a few unincorporated communities and homeowners associations: Conklin, in the southwest part of the township at 43°07′44″N 85°52′53″W was a station on the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, with its post office first opening in June 1887 and continues to service most of the township with ZIP code 49403. Crockery Lake, a homeowners' association on Crockery Lake near the center of the township. Harrisburg, on the north branch of Crockery Creek in the northwest of the township at 43°11′31″N 85°52′26″W, was a station on the Toledo and Muskegon Railway, with a post office operating from December 1888 until February 1907. Gooding, on the eastern boundary with Sparta Township in Kent County, was a station on the Toledo and Muskegon Railway in Kent County. A post office was established in November 1888 and named after storekeeper/postmaster Richard J. Gooding.
In June 1918, the post office was transferred to a site on the Ottawa County side and remained in operation until January 1923. The most noticeable remnant of Gooding is Gooding Street, which runs east-west across the township, passing just south of Crockery Lake; the street continues as Ellis Road in Muskegon County. Lisbon, a mile south of Gooding, was settled by New Yorker John Pintler. In 1848, Pintler's Corners Post Office was established. In March 1869, a village was incorporated, extending a half-section in each direction from the northwest corner of section 30 of Sparta Township (thus including a quarter section of section 19 to the north in Sparta Township as well as quarter sections of sections 24 and 25 in Chester Township. However, railroad lines bypassed the village and it did not prosper disincorporating; the township protrudes to the north of the rest of Ottawa County, is bounded on the west and north by Muskegon County and on the east by Kent County. Polkton Township lies to Wright Township to the south.
No major roads pass through the township. The city of Coopersville is just a few miles to the southwest. Grand Haven is about 20 miles to the west; the northern part of the township is drained by the north branch of Crockery Creek, a tributary of the Grand River that flows westward in the township. The southern portion is drained by branches of Rio Grande Creek, which flow westward before joining Crockery Creek just south of Ravenna. A small area in the southwest corner is drained by Beaver Creek, which flows south into Deer Creek just about a mile before Deer Creek enters the Grand River in Polkton Township. A small area in the southeast of the township is drained by Nash Creek, which flows east to the Rogue River. Crockery Lake, on the Crockery Creek near the center of the township, is the only sizeable body of water in the township; the highest point in Conklin is 1-mile from Crockery Lake by Gooding Street and 24th Avenue. According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 35.9 square miles, of which 35.7 square miles is land and 0.2 square miles is water.
Grose Park is a 40-acre county park overlooking the north side of Crockery Lake and provides recreational opportunities including swimming, sand volleyball and picnicking. There is about one mile of hiking trails along Lange Creek. Major improvements were made in 2000 to Grose Park as part of a $660,000 renovation with about 60% of the funding coming from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. Zip Codes Conklin-49403School Districts Sparta Area Schools Kent City Community Schools Ravenna Public Schools Coopersville Public Schools As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 2,315 people, 714 households, 579 families in the township; the population density was 64.9 per square mile. There were 793 housing units at an average density of 22.2 per square mile. The racial makeup of the township was 94.43% White, 0.78% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 3.63% from other races, 0.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.22% of the population. There were 714 households out of which 41.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.3% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 18.9% were non-families.
14.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.8% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.99 and the average family size was 3.32. The township population contained 30.9% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 104.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.0 males. The median income for a household in the township was $46,328, the median income for a family was $51,900. Males had a median income of $39,286 versus $27,159 for females; the per capita income for the township was $18,197. About 6.0% of families and 10.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.0% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over. Fisher, Ernest B. "Chapter XX: Sparta Township". Grand Rapids and Kent County, Michigan: historical account of their progress from first settlement to the present time.
Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Library. Pp. 267–271. Retrieved April 15, 2006. Cheste
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. The term is used in connection with national population and housing censuses; the United Nations defines the essential features of population and housing censuses as "individual enumeration, universality within a defined territory and defined periodicity", recommends that population censuses be taken at least every 10 years. United Nations recommendations cover census topics to be collected, official definitions and other useful information to co-ordinate international practice; the word is of Latin origin: during the Roman Republic, the census was a list that kept track of all adult males fit for military service. The modern census is essential to international comparisons of any kind of statistics, censuses collect data on many attributes of a population, not just how many people there are. Censuses began as the only method of collecting national demographic data, are now part of a larger system of different surveys.
Although population estimates remain an important function of a census, including the geographic distribution of the population, statistics can be produced about combinations of attributes e.g. education by age and sex in different regions. Current administrative data systems allow for other approaches to enumeration with the same level of detail but raise concerns about privacy and the possibility of biasing estimates. A census can be contrasted with sampling in which information is obtained only from a subset of a population. Modern census data are used for research, business marketing, planning, as a baseline for designing sample surveys by providing a sampling frame such as an address register. Census counts are necessary to adjust samples to be representative of a population by weighting them as is common in opinion polling. Stratification requires knowledge of the relative sizes of different population strata which can be derived from census enumerations. In some countries, the census provides the official counts used to apportion the number of elected representatives to regions.
In many cases, a chosen random sample can provide more accurate information than attempts to get a population census. A census is construed as the opposite of a sample as its intent is to count everyone in a population rather than a fraction. However, population censuses rely on a sampling frame to count the population; this is the only way to be sure that everyone has been included as otherwise those not responding would not be followed up on and individuals could be missed. The fundamental premise of a census is that the population is not known and a new estimate is to be made by the analysis of primary data; the use of a sampling frame is counterintuitive as it suggests that the population size is known. However, a census is used to collect attribute data on the individuals in the nation; this process of sampling marks the difference between historical census, a house to house process or the product of an imperial decree, the modern statistical project. The sampling frame used by census is always an address register.
Thus it is not known how many people there are in each household. Depending on the mode of enumeration, a form is sent to the householder, an enumerator calls, or administrative records for the dwelling are accessed; as a preliminary to the dispatch of forms, census workers will check any address problems on the ground. While it may seem straightforward to use the postal service file for this purpose, this can be out of date and some dwellings may contain a number of independent households. A particular problem is what are termed'communal establishments' which category includes student residences, religious orders, homes for the elderly, people in prisons etc; as these are not enumerated by a single householder, they are treated differently and visited by special teams of census workers to ensure they are classified appropriately. Individuals are counted within households and information is collected about the household structure and the housing. For this reason international documents refer to censuses of housing.
The census response is made by a household, indicating details of individuals resident there. An important aspect of census enumerations is determining which individuals can be counted from which cannot be counted. Broadly, three definitions can be used: de facto residence; this is important to consider individuals who have temporary addresses. Every person should be identified uniquely as resident in one place but where they happen to be on Census Day, their de facto residence, may not be the best place to count them. Where an individual uses services may be more useful and this is at their usual, or de jure, residence. An individual may be represented at a permanent address a family home for students or long term migrants, it is necessary to have a precise definition of residence to decide whether visitors to a country should be included in the population count. This is becoming more important as students travel abroad for education for a period of several years. Other groups causing problems of enumeration are new born babies, people away on holiday, people moving home around census day, people without a fixed address.
People having second homes because of working in another part of the country or retaining a holiday cottage are dif
Marriage called matrimony or wedlock, is a or ritually recognised union between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between those spouses, as well as between them and any resulting biological or adopted children and affinity. The definition of marriage varies around the world not only between cultures and between religions, but throughout the history of any given culture and religion, evolving to both expand and constrict in who and what is encompassed, but it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships sexual, are acknowledged or sanctioned. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity; when defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal. A marriage ceremony is known as a wedding. Individuals may marry for several reasons, including legal, libidinal, financial and religious purposes. Whom they marry may be influenced by gender determined rules of incest, prescriptive marriage rules, parental choice and individual desire.
In some areas of the world, arranged marriage, child marriage and sometimes forced marriage, may be practiced as a cultural tradition. Conversely, such practices may be outlawed and penalized in parts of the world out of concerns of the infringement of women's rights, or the infringement of children's rights, because of international law. Around the world in developed democracies, there has been a general trend towards ensuring equal rights within marriage for women and recognizing the marriages of interfaith and same-sex couples; these trends coincide with the broader human rights movement. Marriage can be recognized by a state, an organization, a religious authority, a tribal group, a local community, or peers, it is viewed as a contract. When a marriage is performed and carried out by a government institution in accordance with the marriage laws of the jurisdiction, without religious content, it is a civil marriage. Civil marriage recognizes and creates the rights and obligations intrinsic to matrimony before the state.
When a marriage is performed with religious content under the auspices of a religious institution it is a religious marriage. Religious marriage recognizes and creates the rights and obligations intrinsic to matrimony before that religion. Religious marriage is known variously as sacramental marriage in Catholicism, nikah in Islam, nissuin in Judaism, various other names in other faith traditions, each with their own constraints as to what constitutes, who can enter into, a valid religious marriage; some countries do not recognize locally performed religious marriage on its own, require a separate civil marriage for official purposes. Conversely, civil marriage does not exist in some countries governed by a religious legal system, such as Saudi Arabia, where marriages contracted abroad might not be recognized if they were contracted contrary to Saudi interpretations of Islamic religious law. In countries governed by a mixed secular-religious legal system, such as in Lebanon and Israel, locally performed civil marriage does not exist within the country, preventing interfaith and various other marriages contradicting religious laws from being entered into in the country, civil marriages performed abroad are recognized by the state if they conflict with religious laws.
The act of marriage creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved, any offspring they may produce or adopt. In terms of legal recognition, most sovereign states and other jurisdictions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples and a diminishing number of these permit polygyny, child marriages, forced marriages. In modern times, a growing number of countries developed democracies, have lifted bans on and have established legal recognition for the marriages of interfaith and same-sex couples; some cultures allow the dissolution of marriage through annulment. In some areas, child marriages and polygamy may occur in spite of national laws against the practice. Since the late twentieth century, major social changes in Western countries have led to changes in the demographics of marriage, with the age of first marriage increasing, fewer people marrying, more couples choosing to cohabit rather than marry. For example, the number of marriages in Europe decreased by 30% from 1975 to 2005.
In most cultures, married women had few rights of their own, being considered, along with the family's children, the property of the husband. In Europe, the United States, other places in the developed world, beginning in the late 19th century and lasting through the 21st century, marriage has undergone gradual legal changes, aimed at improving the rights of the wife; these changes included giving wives legal identities of their own, abolishing the right of husbands to physically discipline their wives, giving wives property rights, liberalizing divorce laws, providing wives with reproductive rights of their own, requiring a wife's consent when sexual relations occur. These changes have occurred in Western countries. In the 21st century, there continue to be controversies regarding the legal status of married women, legal acceptance of or leniency towards violence within marriage, traditional marriage customs such as dowry and bride price, for