Benbrook Lake is a reservoir on the Clear Fork of the Trinity River in Tarrant County, Texas, USA. The lake is located 10 miles southwest of the center of Fort Worth, where the Clear Fork and the West Fork of the Trinity River join; the lake is impounded by the Benbrook Dam. The lake and dam are owned and operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District. Significant flooding on the Trinity River during May 1908, April 1922 and September 1936, was a primary cause for the development of Corps of Engineers flood control projects in North Texas. Benbrook Dam and Lake were built by the Galveston District of the Corps of Engineers. During the decade of active civil works construction following World War II, the U. S. Congress provided for the construction of Benbrook Lake, Grapevine Lake, Lavon Lake and Ray Roberts Lake as well as modifications to the existing Garza Dam for the construction of Lewisville Lake; the River & Harbors Act of 1945 authorized these projects for the purposes of both flood control and navigation.
These lakes and others, along with an extensive floodway system of levees, are operated in a coordinated manner to minimize flooding along the Trinity River floodplain corridor in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. A second major influence for development was the desire of commercial interests for a shipping channel along the length of the Trinity River; this project, in its most grandiose design, was envisioned as a 9-foot-deep by 150-foot-wide canal running upstream from Trinity Bay on the Gulf Coast to Dallas, west all the way to Fort Worth. Downstream it would connect to the Houston Ship Channel. Twenty-six separate lock and dam projects were to be constructed. Today a ship channel is maintained upriver as far as river mile 41 near Texas. Although unlikely, a navigation channel linking Fort Worth to the Gulf of Mexico could still be constructed. Water intended for use in this navigation channel was only reallocated for municipal water use; the Tarrant Regional Water District in 1992 gained these water rights and now provides water supply to the cities of Benbrook, Fort Worth, Weatherford.
The Water District has built pipelines that connect Benbrook Lake with the Fort Worth’s Rolling Hills water plant and both Cedar Creek and Richland-Chambers reservoirs southeast of Dallas. Construction of Benbrook dam began in May 1947, was completed when floodgates were closed and deliberate impoundment was begun in September 1952; the cost to build the lake was $14.5 million. The rolled-earth embankment is 9,130 feet in length, including the concrete spillway, rises 130 feet above the streambed to an elevation of 747 feet above sea level. A pair of 6.5-foot × 13-foot sliding gates operated by electric cable hoists controls the floodwater releases through the 13-foot-diameter conduit. Two 30-inch-diameter pipes are provided for low-flow releases to maintain downstream river flows; the concrete spillway for uncontrolled releases is 500 feet long, with a 100-foot notch in its center. At the normal, or conservation pool, level of 694 feet above sea level, the lake covers 3,770 acres; this would increase to 7,630 acres if the lake reaches the nominal maximum flood pool elevation of 724, the overall spillway elevation at the top of the center notch.
One design option considered during the planning stages for the lake included an alternate damsite near the current I-20 bridge over the Trinity River, 3.7 feet downstream from the final, chosen location. There was much more to construction than building the dam. Several railroads and bridges, utility lines and cemeteries were relocated; the largest of these jobs was the rerouting of six miles of the Gulf and Santa Fe Railway. Gravesites from seven separate cemeteries were relocated to the Benbrook municipal cemetery at Winscott and Mercedes. No significant cultural, archeological or paleontological features existed in the project area, according to the July 1948 preconstruction survey. Flooding in May 1949 claimed eleven lives in Fort Worth and cost $11 million to local businesses, as construction for the dam was beginning. During a spring 1957 flood, the new lake and the downtown floodway prevented $9.3 million in damages recouping the original construction costs of the lake. During this flood, the lake filled to its 694-foot conservation level for the first time on May 12, 1957.
This elevation was a record that lasted thirty-two years, but was surpassed twice in an eleven-month period from June 1989 to May 1990. The current record pool level is 717.5 feet above sea level and occurred on May 3, 1990. Flood damages prevented by Benbrook Lake from 1989 through 1991 have pushed the total savings for the life of the lake to over one billion dollars; when holding floodwaters, the lake pool rises above the normal elevation of 694 feet. This requires closing of park roads and other facilities for extended periods. Design engineers for Lake Benbrook estimated that the lake would rise as high as the 710-foot spillway elevation only about every forty years, elevations of 715 feet or greater would be reached only once every one hundred years; these estimates show how unusual and remarkable were the flood events of 717 feet in May 1989, 718 feet in May 1990, 713 feet in December 1991. The idea of a flood control reservoir like Benbrook Lake, is that floodwaters from heavy rains are retained above th
A city council, town council, town board, or board of aldermen is the legislative body that governs a city, municipality, or local government area. Because of the differences in legislation between the states, the exact definition of a City Council varies. However, it is only those local government areas which have been granted city status that are entitled to refer to themselves as cities; the official title is "Corporation of the City of ______" or similar. Some of the urban areas of Australia are governed by a single entity, while others may be controlled by a multitude of much smaller city councils; some significant urban areas can be under the jurisdiction of otherwise rural local governments. Periodic re-alignments of boundaries attempt to rationalize these situations and adjust the deployment of assets and resources; the 2001 Local Government Act restyled the five county boroughs of Dublin, Galway and Limerick as city councils, with the same status in law as county councils. The 2014 Local Government Act Merged Limerick City and Limerick County Council together and Waterford City and Waterford County Council together abolishing Waterford and Limerick City council, While Limerick and Waterford maintain City Status.
The city councils and city halls in Malaysia are as follows. Alor Setar City Council Ipoh City Council Iskandar Puteri City Council Johor Bahru City Council Kota Kinabalu City Hall Kuala Lumpur City Hall Kuala Terengganu City Council Kuching North City Hall Kuching South City Council Melaka City Council Miri City Council Penang Island City Council Petaling Jaya City Council Shah Alam City Council Local councils in New Zealand do vary in structure, but are overseen by the government department Local Government New Zealand. For many decades until the local government reforms of 1989, a borough with more than 20,000 people could be proclaimed a city; the boundaries of councils tended to follow the edge of the built-up area, so little distinction was made between the urban area and the local government area. New Zealand's local government structural arrangements were reformed by the Local Government Commission in 1989 when 700 councils and special purpose bodies were amalgamated to create 87 new local authorities.
As a result, the term "city" began to take on two meanings. The word "city" came to be used in a less formal sense to describe major urban areas independent of local body boundaries; this informal usage is jealously guarded. Gisborne, for example, adamantly described itself as the first city in the world to see the new millennium. Gisborne is administered by a district council, but its status as a city is not disputed. Under the current law the minimum population for a new city is 50,000. In the Republic of China, a city council represents a provincial city. Members of the councils are elected through local elections for provincial cities which are held every 4–5 years. Councils for the provincial cities in Taiwan are Chiayi City Council, Hsinchu City Council, Keelung City Council. In the UK, not all cities have city councils, the status and functions of city councils vary. A city council may be: The council of a metropolitan district, granted city status; the council of a non-metropolitan district, granted city status.
Some of these councils are some share functions with county councils. A parish council, granted city status; these councils have limited functions. The council of a London borough, granted city status, or the City of London Corporation. A city council may be: One of the three councils of principal areas that have been granted city status. One of the three community councils, with limited functions, that have been granted city status. A city council is the council of one of four council areas designated a City by the Local Government etc. Act 1994; the three cities which are not council areas have no city council. Belfast City Council is now the only city council. Since the local government reforms of 2015 the other four cities form parts of wider districts and do not have their own councils. City councils and town boards consist of several elected aldermen or councillors. In the United States, members of city councils are called council member, council man, council woman, councilman, or councilwoman, while in Canada they are called councillor.
In some cities, the mayor is a voting member of the council. In larger cities the council may elect other executive positions as well, such as a council president and speaker; the council functions as a parliamentary or congressional style legislative body, proposing bills, holding votes, passing laws to help govern the city. The role of the mayor in the council varies depending on whether or not the city uses council–manager government or mayor–council government, by the nature of the statutory authority given to it by state law, city charter, or municipal ordinance. There is a mayor pro tem councilmember. In cities where the council elects the mayor for one year at a time, the mayor pro tem is in line to become the mayor in the next year. In cities where the mayor is elected by the city's voters, the mayor pro tem serves as acting mayor in the absence of the mayor; this position is known as vice mayor. In some cities a different name for the municipal legislature is used. In San
A town is a human settlement. Towns are larger than villages but smaller than cities, though the criteria to distinguish them vary between different parts of the world; the word town shares an origin with the German word Zaun, the Dutch word tuin, the Old Norse tun. The German word Zaun comes closest to the original meaning of the word: a fence of any material. An early borrowing from Celtic *dunom. In English and Dutch, the meaning of the word took on the sense of the space which these fences enclosed. In England, a town was a small community that could not afford or was not allowed to build walls or other larger fortifications, built a palisade or stockade instead. In the Netherlands, this space was a garden, more those of the wealthy, which had a high fence or a wall around them. In Old Norse tun means a place between farmhouses, the word is still used in a similar meaning in modern Norwegian. In Old English and Early and Middle Scots, the words ton, etc. could refer to diverse kinds of settlements from agricultural estates and holdings picking up the Norse sense at one end of the scale, to fortified municipalities.
If there was any distinction between toun and burgh as claimed by some, it did not last in practice as burghs and touns developed. For example, "Edina Burgh" or "Edinburgh" was built around a fort and came to have a defensive wall. In some cases, "town" is an alternative name for "city" or "village". Sometimes, the word "town" is short for "township". In general, today towns can be differentiated from townships, villages, or hamlets on the basis of their economic character, in that most of a town's population will tend to derive their living from manufacturing industry and public services rather than primary industry such as agriculture or related activities. A place's population size is not a reliable determinant of urban character. In many areas of the world, e.g. in India at least until recent times, a large village might contain several times as many people as a small town. In the United Kingdom, there are historical cities; the modern phenomenon of extensive suburban growth, satellite urban development, migration of city dwellers to villages has further complicated the definition of towns, creating communities urban in their economic and cultural characteristics but lacking other characteristics of urban localities.
Some forms of non-rural settlement, such as temporary mining locations, may be non-rural, but have at best a questionable claim to be called a town. Towns exist as distinct governmental units, with defined borders and some or all of the appurtenances of local government. In the United States these are referred to as "incorporated towns". In other cases the town lacks its own governance and is said to be "unincorporated". Note that the existence of an unincorporated town may be set out by other means, e.g. zoning districts. In the case of some planned communities, the town exists in the form of covenants on the properties within the town; the United States Census identifies many census-designated places by the names of unincorporated towns which lie within them. The distinction between a town and a city depends on the approach: a city may be an administrative entity, granted that designation by law, but in informal usage, the term is used to denote an urban locality of a particular size or importance: whereas a medieval city may have possessed as few as 10,000 inhabitants, today some consider an urban place of fewer than 100,000 as a town though there are many designated cities that are much smaller than that.
Australian geographer Thomas Griffith Taylor proposed a classification of towns based on their age and pattern of land use. He identified five types of town: Infantile towns, with no clear zoning Juvenile towns, which have developed an area of shops Adolescent towns, where factories have started to appear Early mature towns, with a separate area of high-class housing Mature towns, with defined industrial and various types of residential area In Afghanistan and cities are known as shār; as the country is an rural society with few larger settlements, with major cities never holding more than a few hundred thousand inhabitants before the 2000s, the lingual tradition of the country does not discriminate between towns and cities. In Albania "qytezë" means town, similar with the word for city. Although there is no official use of the term for any settlement. In Albanian "qytezë" means "small city" or "new city", while in ancient times "small residential center within the walls of a castle"; the center is a population group, larger than a village, smaller than a city.
Though the village is bigger than a hamlet In Australia, towns or "urban centre localities" are understood to be those centers of population not formally declared to be cities and having a population in excess of about 200 people. Centers too small to be called towns are understood to be a township. In addition, some local government entities are styled as towns in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, before the statewide amalgamations of th
A ZIP Code is a postal code used by the United States Postal Service in a system it introduced in 1963. The term ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan; the basic format consists of five digits. An extended ZIP+4 code was introduced in 1983 which includes the five digits of the ZIP Code, followed by a hyphen and four additional digits that reference a more specific location; the term ZIP Code was registered as a servicemark by the U. S. Postal Service, but its registration has since expired; the early history and context of postal codes began with postal district/zone numbers. The United States Post Office Department implemented postal zones for numerous large cities in 1943. For example: The "16" was the number of the postal zone in the specific city. By the early 1960s, a more organized system was needed, non-mandatory five-digit ZIP Codes were introduced nationwide on July 1, 1963; the USPOD issued its Publication 59: Abbreviations for Use with ZIP Code on October 1, 1963, with the list of two-letter state abbreviations which are written with both letters capitalized.
An earlier list in June had proposed capitalized abbreviations ranging from two to five letters. According to Publication 59, the two-letter standard was "based on a maximum 23-position line, because this has been found to be the most universally acceptable line capacity basis for major addressing systems", which would be exceeded by a long city name combined with a multi-letter state abbreviation, such as "Sacramento, Calif." along with the ZIP Code. The abbreviations have remained unchanged, with the exception of Nebraska, changed from NB to NE in 1969 at the request of the Canadian postal administration, to avoid confusion with the Canadian province of New Brunswick. Robert Moon is considered the father of the ZIP Code; the post office only credits Moon with the first three digits of the ZIP Code, which describe the sectional center facility or "sec center." An SCF is a central mail processing facility with those three digits. The fourth and fifth digits, which give a more precise locale within the SCF, were proposed by Henry Bentley Hahn Sr.
The SCF sorts mail to all post offices with those first three digits in their ZIP Codes. The mail is sorted according to the final two digits of the ZIP Code and sent to the corresponding post offices in the early morning. Sectional centers do not deliver mail and are not open to the public, most of their employees work the night shift. Mail picked up at post offices is sent to their own SCF in the afternoon, where the mail is sorted overnight. In the case of large cities, the last two digits coincide with the older postal zone number thus: In 1967, these became mandatory for second- and third-class bulk mailers, the system was soon adopted generally; the United States Post Office used a cartoon character, which it called Mr. ZIP, to promote the use of the ZIP Code, he was depicted with a legend such as "USE ZIP CODE" in the selvage of panes of postage stamps or on the covers of booklet panes of stamps. In 1971 Elmira Star-Gazette reporter Dick Baumbach found out the White House was not using a ZIP Code on its envelopes.
Herb Klein, special assistant to President Nixon, responded by saying the next printing of envelopes would include the ZIP Code. In 1983, the U. S. Postal Service introduced an expanded ZIP Code system that it called ZIP+4 called "plus-four codes", "add-on codes", or "add-ons". A ZIP+4 Code uses the basic five-digit code plus four additional digits to identify a geographic segment within the five-digit delivery area, such as a city block, a group of apartments, an individual high-volume receiver of mail, a post office box, or any other unit that could use an extra identifier to aid in efficient mail sorting and delivery. However, initial attempts to promote universal use of the new format met with public resistance and today the plus-four code is not required. In general, mail is read by a multiline optical character reader that instantly determines the correct ZIP+4 Code from the address—along with the more specific delivery point—and sprays an Intelligent Mail barcode on the face of the mail piece that corresponds to 11 digits—nine for the ZIP+4 Code and two for the delivery point.
For Post Office Boxes, the general rule is. The add-on code is one of the following: the last four digits of the box number, zero plus the last three digits of the box number, or, if the box number consists of fewer than four digits, enough zeros are attached to the front of the box number to produce a four-digit number. However, there is no uniform rule, so the ZIP+4 Code must be looked up individually for each box; the ZIP Code is translated into an Intelligent Mail barcode, printed on the mailpiece to make it easier for automated machines to sort. A barcode can be printed by the sender, it is better to let the post office put one on. In general, the post office uses OCR technology, though in some cases a human might have to read and enter the address. Customers who send bulk mail can get a discount on postage if they have printed the barcode themselves and have presorted the mai
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
Tarrant County, Texas
Tarrant County is a county in the U. S. state of Texas. As of 2010, it had a population of 2,054,475, it is the 16th-most populous in the United States. Its county seat is Fort Worth. Tarrant County, one of 26 counties created out of the Peters Colony, was established in 1849 and organized the next year, it was named in honor of General Edward H. Tarrant of the Republic of Texas militia. Tarrant County is TX Metropolitan Statistical Area. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 902 square miles, of which 864 square miles is land and 39 square miles is water. Denton County Dallas County Ellis County Johnson County Parker County Wise County As of the 2015 Texas Population Estimate Program, the population of the county was 1,960,741: non-Hispanic whites 916,941; as of the census of 2010, there were 1,809,034 people. Tarrant County is the second most populous county in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metropolitan Statistical Area; as of the census of 2000, there were 1,446,219 people, 533,864 households, 369,433 families residing in the county.
The population density was 1,675 people per square mile. There were 565,830 housing units at an average density of 655 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 71.23% White, 12.80% Black or African American, 0.57% Native American, 3.64% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 9.09% from other races, 2.51% from two or more races. 19.73% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 533,864 households out of which 36.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.60% were married couples living together, 12.20% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.80% were non-families. 24.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.90% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.22. As of the 2010 census, there were about 5.2 same-sex couples per 1,000 households in the county. In the county, the population was spread out with 28.10% under the age of 18, 10.00% from 18 to 24, 33.50% from 25 to 44, 20.10% from 45 to 64, 8.30% who were 65 years of age or older.
The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.60 males. The median income for a household in the county was $46,179, the median income for a family was $54,068. Males had a median income of $38,486 versus $28,672 for females; the per capita income for the county was $22,548. About 8.00% of families and 10.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.80% of those under age 18 and 8.70% of those age 65 or over. Tarrant County, like all Texas counties, is governed by a Commissioners Court, which consists of the county judge, elected county-wide and presides over the full court, four commissioners, who are elected in each of the county's four precincts; the JPS Health Network operates health centers. Countywide law enforcement is provided by the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office and Tarrant County Constable's Office. All cities in the county provide their own police services, with three exceptions: Westlake contracts service from the Keller Police Department, Haslet and Edgecliff Village contract service from the Sheriff's Office.
DFW Airport, the Tarrant County Hospital District, the Tarrant Regional Water District provide their own police forces. Since the disbandment of the North Tarrant County Fire Department, no countywide firefighting services exist. Most cities operate their own ambulances, with Fort Worth being a notable exception - the city contracts paramedic apparatus from private entity Medstar. CareFlite air ambulance services operate from Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth. Tarrant County is one of the largest Republican-leaning counties in the nation. Democrats are concentrated in several areas throughout the county: eastern Euless, Grand Prairie and eastern Arlington, portions of Fort Worth the area surrounding the Stockyards and Meacham Airport and eastern Fort Worth along I-35W, Forest Hill. Republicans are dominant in the rest of the county: rural areas and western Fort Worth and north of Loop 820, all suburban areas including Benbrook and western Arlington, Haltom City, Mid-Cities, the northern suburbs.
Since the late 20th century, residents of Tarrant County have supported Republican Party presidential candidates. Since 1952 the majority of voters supported the Republican presidential candidate in every election except 1964, when the county voted for Democrat Lyndon Johnson, a Texas native. In 2016, Donald Trump won the county with 51.7% of the vote, the worst showing for a Republican since Bob Dole in 1996, by a margin of 8.6%, the lowest since 1976. The first Republican elected to the State Senate from Tarrant County since Reconstruction was Betty Andujar in 1973; the county leans Republican in races for the United States Senate, but in the 2018 election, Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke won it with a plurality. This was the first time a Democratic candidate won Tarrant County in a federal election since Lloyd Bentsen in his 1988 re-election bid for the Senate. O'Rourke is first statewide Democrat to win the county since Ann Richards in the 1990 gubernatorial election. Public schools in Texas are organized into inde
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