Country music known as country and western, hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk blues. Country music consists of ballads and dance tunes with simple forms, folk lyrics, harmonies accompanied by string instruments such as banjos and acoustic guitars, steel guitars, fiddles as well as harmonicas. Blues modes have been used extensively throughout its recorded history. According to Lindsey Starnes, the term country music gained popularity in the 1940s in preference to the earlier term hillbilly music. In 2009 in the United States, country music was the most listened to rush hour radio genre during the evening commute, second most popular in the morning commute; the term country music is used today to describe many subgenres. The origins of country music are found in the folk music of working class Americans, who blended popular songs and Celtic fiddle tunes, traditional English ballads, cowboy songs, the musical traditions of various groups of European immigrants.
Immigrants to the southern Appalachian Mountains of eastern North America brought the music and instruments of Europe along with them for nearly 300 years. Country music was "introduced to the world as a Southern phenomenon." The U. S. Congress has formally recognized Bristol, Tennessee as the "Birthplace of Country Music", based on the historic Bristol recording sessions of 1927. Since 2014, the city has been home to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Historians have noted the influence of the less-known Johnson City sessions of 1928 and 1929, the Knoxville sessions of 1929 and 1930. In addition, the Mountain City Fiddlers Convention, held in 1925, helped to inspire modern country music. Before these, pioneer settlers, in the Great Smoky Mountains region, had developed a rich musical heritage; the first generation emerged in the early 1920s, with Atlanta's music scene playing a major role in launching country's earliest recording artists. New York City record label Okeh Records began issuing hillbilly music records by Fiddlin' John Carson as early as 1923, followed by Columbia Records in 1924, RCA Victor Records in 1927 with the first famous pioneers of the genre Jimmie Rodgers and the first family of country music The Carter Family.
Many "hillbilly" musicians, such as Cliff Carlisle, recorded blues songs throughout the 1920s. During the second generation, radio became a popular source of entertainment, "barn dance" shows featuring country music were started all over the South, as far north as Chicago, as far west as California; the most important was the Grand Ole Opry, aired starting in 1925 by WSM in Nashville and continuing to the present day. During the 1930s and 1940s, cowboy songs, or Western music, recorded since the 1920s, were popularized by films made in Hollywood. Bob Wills was another country musician from the Lower Great Plains who had become popular as the leader of a "hot string band," and who appeared in Hollywood westerns, his mix of country and jazz, which started out as dance hall music, would become known as Western swing. Wills was one of the first country musicians known to have added an electric guitar to his band, in 1938. Country musicians began recording boogie in 1939, shortly after it had been played at Carnegie Hall, when Johnny Barfield recorded "Boogie Woogie".
The third generation started at the end of World War II with "mountaineer" string band music known as bluegrass, which emerged when Bill Monroe, along with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were introduced by Roy Acuff at the Grand Ole Opry. Gospel music remained a popular component of country music. Another type of stripped-down and raw music with a variety of moods and a basic ensemble of guitar, dobro or steel guitar became popular among poor whites in Texas and Oklahoma, it became known as honky tonk, had its roots in Western swing and the ranchera music of Mexico and the border states. By the early 1950s a blend of Western swing, country boogie, honky tonk was played by most country bands. Rockabilly was most popular with country fans in the 1950s, 1956 could be called the year of rockabilly in country music, with Johnny Cash emerging as one of the most popular and enduring representatives of the rockabilly genre. Beginning in the mid-1950s, reaching its peak during the early 1960s, the Nashville sound turned country music into a multimillion-dollar industry centered in Nashville, Tennessee.
The late 1960s in American music produced a unique blend as a result of traditionalist backlash within separate genres. In the aftermath of the British Invasion, many desired a return to the "old values" of rock n' roll. At the same time there was a lack of enthusiasm in the country sector for Nashville-produced music. What resulted was a crossbred genre known as country rock. Fourth generation music included outlaw country with roots in the Bakersfield sound, country pop with roots in the countrypolitan, folk music and soft rock. Between 1972 and 1975 singer/guitarist John Denver released a se
A city is a large human settlement. Cities have extensive systems for housing, sanitation, land use, communication, their density facilitates interaction between people, government organizations and businesses, sometimes benefiting different parties in the process. City-dwellers have been a small proportion of humanity overall, but following two centuries of unprecedented and rapid urbanization half of the world population now lives in cities, which has had profound consequences for global sustainability. Present-day cities form the core of larger metropolitan areas and urban areas—creating numerous commuters traveling towards city centers for employment and edification. However, in a world of intensifying globalization, all cities are in different degree connected globally beyond these regions; the most populated city proper is Chongqing while the most populous metropolitan areas are the Greater Tokyo Area, the Shanghai area, Jabodetabek. The cities of Faiyum and Varanasi are among those laying claim to longest continual inhabitation.
A city is distinguished from other human settlements by its great size, but by its functions and its special symbolic status, which may be conferred by a central authority. The term can refer either to the physical streets and buildings of the city or to the collection of people who dwell there, can be used in a general sense to mean urban rather than rural territory. A variety of definitions, invoking population, population density, number of dwellings, economic function, infrastructure, are used in national censuses to classify populations as urban. Common population definitions for a city range between 1,500 and 50,000 people, with most U. S. states using a minimum between 5,000 inhabitants. However, some jurisdictions set no such minimums. In the United Kingdom, city status is awarded by the government and remains permanently, resulting in some small cities, such as Wells and St Davids. According to the "functional definition" a city is not distinguished by size alone, but by the role it plays within a larger political context.
Cities serve as administrative, commercial and cultural hubs for their larger surrounding areas. Examples of settlements called city which may not meet any of the traditional criteria to be named such include Broad Top City and City Dulas, Anglesey, a hamlet; the presence of a literate elite is sometimes included in the definition. A typical city has professional administrators and some form of taxation to support the government workers; the governments may be based on heredity, military power, work projects such as canal building, food distribution, land ownership, commerce, finance, or a combination of these. Societies that live in cities are called civilizations; the word city and the related civilization come, via Old French, from the Latin root civitas meaning citizenship or community member and coming to correspond with urbs, meaning city in a more physical sense. The Roman civitas was linked with the Greek "polis"—another common root appearing in English words such as metropolis. Urban geography deals both with their internal structure.
Town siting has varied through history according to natural, technological and military contexts. Access to water has long been a major factor in city placement and growth, despite exceptions enabled by the advent of rail transport in the nineteenth century, through the present most of the world's urban population lives near the coast or on a river. Urban areas as a rule cannot produce their own food and therefore must develop some relationship with a hinterland which sustains them. Only in special cases such as mining towns which play a vital role in long-distance trade, are cities disconnected from the countryside which feeds them. Thus, centrality within a productive region influences siting, as economic forces would in theory favor the creation of market places in optimal mutually reachable locations; the vast majority of cities have a central area containing buildings with special economic and religious significance. Archaeologists refer to this area by the Greek term temenos; these spaces reflect and amplify the city's centrality and importance to its wider sphere of influence.
Today cities have downtown, sometimes coincident with a central business district. Cities have public spaces where anyone can go; these include owned spaces open to the public as well as forms of public land such as public domain and the commons. Western philosophy since the time of the Greek agora has considered physical public space as the substrate of the symbolic public sphere. Public art adorns public spaces. Parks and other natural sites within cities provide residents with relief from the hardness and regularity of typical built environments. Urban structure follows one or more basic patterns: geomorphic, concentric and curvilinear. Physical environment constrains the form in which a city is built. If located on a mountainside, urban structure may rely on winding roads, it may be adapted to its means of subsistence. And it may be set up for optimal defense given the surrounding landscape. Beyond these "geomorphi
Epes is a town in Sumter County, United States. Called Epes Station, it was incorporated as Epes in 1899. At the 2010 census the population was 192, down from 206 in 2000. Epes is located near Jones Bluff, it is located at 32°41′26″N 88°7′27″W. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.9 square miles, all land. Epes has its origins in Fort de Tombecbé, one of the major fortifications built under Louis XIV of France, in what is now the American south, in the early eighteenth century. In January 1736, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, governor of Louisiana, recruited a Swiss officer serving with the French, Joseph Christophe de Lusser, to construct a fort on the Tombigbee River, "atop an 80-foot bluff to support his campaign against the Chickasaws", to proceed in the year following. After a 26-year stay, during which the French used this and other holdings to check "westward expansion by the British into the French colony of Louisiana," and to serve "as a trading post, solidifying France's relations with the Choctaws... the most powerful French ally in the area," the French ceded the fort, with most of its North American territory, to Great Britain under the Treaty of Paris, surrendering Tombecbé in November 1763.
Records of those overseeing the fort in this period document the challenge of supplying such a remote location, after a 1768 truce ended the hostilities between the Choctaw and Creeks, the British abandoned Fort York, with Choctaws being the remaining inhabitants of the area until this tribe ceded a small parcel of land that included the fort to the Spanish in 1792/1793, under the Treaty of Boucfouca. As little of the original fortification structures remained when Spain arrived to take control in 1794, the Spanish chose to construct "a smaller but more substantial earthen structure". Fortifications were completed before the beginning of 1796, in time to provide support to the Spanish when war broke out with the United States, when hostilities began again between the Chickasaw and Creek Indians. S. ended that part of the hostilities, ceded Spanish territory "above the 31st parallel," including the Fort, to the U. S, "thus marking the end of the European colonial era in Alabama." Epes was incorporated in 1899 and named for Dr. John W. Epes, who donated the right-of-way for Southern Railroad.
The town is located on the high bluffs of the Tombigbee River. Standing on the bluffs, you could hear the steamboats traveling down river. During its prime, it was known as business and service center, it had three cotton gins, a cotton compress, cotton seed oil mill, handle company, The Casey Hotel, The Bowers Boarding House, a school, two grocery stores, a drug store, general merchandising stores, two livery stables. The second stockyard in Alabama opened in Epes in 1936; as of the 2010 United States Census, there were 192 people residing in the town. The racial makeup of the town was 91.1% Black and 8.9% White. As of the census of 2000, there were 206 people, 80 households, 46 families residing in the town; the population density was 107.1 people per square mile. There were 105 housing units at an average density of 54.6 per square mile. The racial makeup of the town was 15.53% White, 83.98% Black or African American and 0.49% Native American. There were 80 households out of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.5% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 42.5% were non-families.
38.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.65. In the town, the population was spread out with 31.1% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 104.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.9 males. The median income for a household in the town was $25,625, the median income for a family was $38,125. Males had a median income of $25,833 versus $14,583 for females; the per capita income for the town was $10,404. About 22.2% of families and 25.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.6% of those under the age of eighteen and 15.0% of those sixty five or over. Carol Forman, actress Bill Oliver, former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Auburn University football coach The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters.
According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Epes has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. Official Site
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
2010 United States Census
The 2010 United States Census is the twenty-third and most recent United States national census. National Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2010; the census was taken via mail-in citizen self-reporting, with enumerators serving to spot-check randomly selected neighborhoods and communities. As part of a drive to increase the count's accuracy, 635,000 temporary enumerators were hired; the population of the United States was counted as 308,745,538, a 9.7% increase from the 2000 Census. This was the first census in which all states recorded a population of over half a million, as well as the first in which all 100 largest cities recorded populations of over 200,000; as required by the United States Constitution, the U. S. census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790. The 2000 U. S. Census was the previous census completed. Participation in the U. S. Census is required by law in Title 13 of the United States Code. On January 25, 2010, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves inaugurated the 2010 Census enumeration by counting World War II veteran Clifton Jackson, a resident of Noorvik, Alaska.
More than 120 million census forms were delivered by the U. S. Post Office beginning March 15, 2010; the number of forms mailed out or hand-delivered by the Census Bureau was 134 million on April 1, 2010. Although the questionnaire used April 1, 2010 as the reference date as to where a person was living, an insert dated March 15, 2010 included the following printed in bold type: "Please complete and mail back the enclosed census form today." The 2010 Census national mail participation rate was 74%. From April through July 2010, census takers visited households that did not return a form, an operation called "non-response follow-up". In December 2010, the U. S. Census Bureau delivered population information to the U. S. President for apportionment, in March 2011, complete redistricting data was delivered to states. Identifiable information will be available in 2082; the Census Bureau did not use a long form for the 2010 Census. In several previous censuses, one in six households received this long form, which asked for detailed social and economic information.
The 2010 Census used only a short form asking ten basic questions: How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010? Were there any additional people staying here on April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1? Mark all that apply: Is this house, apartment, or mobile home – What is your telephone number? What is Person 1's name? What is Person 1's sex? What is Person 1's age and Person 1's date of birth? Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin? What is Person 1's race? Does Person 1 sometimes live or stay somewhere else? The form included space to repeat all of these questions for up to twelve residents total. In contrast to the 2000 census, an Internet response option was not offered, nor was the form available for download. Detailed socioeconomic information collected during past censuses will continue to be collected through the American Community Survey; the survey provides data about communities in the United States on a 1-year or 3-year cycle, depending on the size of the community, rather than once every 10 years.
A small percentage of the population on a rotating basis will receive the survey each year, no household will receive it more than once every five years. In June 2009, the U. S. Census Bureau announced. However, the final form did not contain a separate "same-sex married couple" option; when noting the relationship between household members, same-sex couples who are married could mark their spouses as being "Husband or wife", the same response given by opposite-sex married couples. An "unmarried partner" option was available for couples; the 2010 census cost $13 billion $42 per capita. Operational costs were $5.4 billion under the $7 billion budget. In December 2010 the Government Accountability Office noted that the cost of conducting the census has doubled each decade since 1970. In a detailed 2004 report to Congress, the GAO called on the Census Bureau to address cost and design issues, at that time, had estimated the 2010 Census cost to be $11 billion. In August 2010, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced that the census operational costs came in under budget.
Locke credited the management practices of Census Bureau director Robert Groves, citing in particular the decision to buy additional advertising in locations where responses lagged, which improved the overall response rate. The agency has begun to rely more on questioning neighbors or other reliable third parties when a person could not be reached at home, which reduced the cost of follow-up visits. Census data for about 22% of U. S. househol
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
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