The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
O'Fallon Township High School
O'Fallon Township High School is a public secondary school in O'Fallon, Illinois. In 2009, OTHS was ranked 49th out of the top 100 high schools in Illinois by the Chicago Sun Times; the first high school was founded in 1901 as a two-year school by William R. Dorris, who became the first principal, according to Brian Keller of the O’Fallon Historical Society. In 1900, the city had built a new building to serve as the elementary school. Room 10 was set aside for the high school studies; the first graduating class in 1903 had only five members. In 1920, O’Fallon’s high school became OTHS of District 203, the original school song, “Blue and Old Gold”, was first sung at graduation in 1925; the school's mascot is the Panther. The basketball team visited a sports store in 1934 and was impressed by the large picture of a panther in the store’s display window, according to Mr. George Bender, class of 1937; the team, not having a mascot of their own yet, liked the idea of using the panther. By November 1934, the team was nicknamed the Panthers, a name which would represent the entire school.
The current main campus, which houses grades 10-12 was built and opened in 1958. The district expanded the main campus by extending the street-side hallway, thus adding another hallway stretching the length of the school along with multiple new classrooms; the district completed construction on the 9th grade or freshman campus in the summer of 2009. The two campuses are about 10–15 minutes apart; the first class to attend the Milburn campus was the class of 2013. The Panthers compete in the Southwestern Conference. JV Golden Girls won first place in both Jazz in 2015 at the TDI State Championship. O'Fallon Winter Guard 2011 claimed the national title at Winter Guard International World Championships; the varsity baseball team earned the first team state trophy in school history by placing third in the IHSA State Tournament in 2006 and 2009. The Junior ROTC Drill Team placed first overall at the Gateway International Drill Competition held at Alton High School, Illinois; the varsity cheerleading team placed second at state in 2007, fourth at state in 2008, second again in 2009.
The boys' basketball team finished second at the 2007 State Basketball Tournament held in Peoria, Illinois at Bradley University, finished fourth in 2010. The Golden Girls dance team placed first in state competition in March 2008; the O'Fallon Hockey Panthers won the MVCHA league 2A championship in the 1998-99 season 2016-17, the 2A south division in 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2001-02 and 2015-16 seasons. O'Fallon Varsity Hockey team won the MVCHA 2A league championship in 2016-17 season against Freeburg/Waterloo The JV Hockey Panthers won the south division in 2003-04 and the JV 2A championship in 1996-97, 1997-98, 2002-03, 2010–11; the Marching Panthers have won the veiled Prophet Parade for 20 consecutive years. The Marching Panthers placed first with Best Visual and General Effect at the 2015 Bands of America Clarksville, TN Regional Championships; the Winter Guard placed third at MCCGA Championships and 1st in state in 2009-2010. The Competitive Journalism team placed second in the IHSA State competition in April 2010.
The 2009 Girls' Volleyball team won regionals for the first time in 17 years and advanced to the sectional finals. The 2010 Boys Cross Country team placed fifth in the 3A State meet, with a team average of 14:59 for 3 miles; the 2011 Boys Cross Country team placed second in the 3A state meet, O'fallon's first Cross Country trophy. The 2012 Boys Cross Country team placed; the 2013 Boys Cross Country team placed third in the State Meet, while Patrick Perrier Claimed the 3A individual state title. The 2011 Winter Guard placed first in Class A at the World Championships; the 2007-08 Scholar Bowl team went 37-4 and went to the IHSA class AA tournament for the first time in the school's history
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
William McKendree was an Evangelist and the fourth Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the first Methodist bishop born in the United States. He was elected in 1808. William was born in King William County, the son of John and Mary McKendree, his parents were both of Scottish ancestry. As a young man, McKendree served in the Virginia militia during the American Revolutionary War, he entered the ranks as a private, but served as an adjutant in the commissary department. He was present at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. After the war, he returned to private life. William was converted to Christ in 1787. Shortly thereafter he began conversing with his friends on the subject of the Christian faith and making them the subjects of his fervent prayers, he soon volunteered to take part in public religious meetings, his addresses produced a powerful effect. In 1788, while living in Brunswick County, William was received on trial into the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Unusually, he was admitted without first obtaining a License to Preach and without anyone's recommendation.
Bishop Francis Asbury appointed him as junior preacher to Mecklenburg circuit and he served for several years on neighboring circuits. The Rev. McKendree continued as an itinerant preacher until November 1792, having been influenced by James O'Kelly to join in certain measures of pretended reform, he was disappointed by their failure at the General Conference. Mr. O'Kelly withdrew from the M. E. Church. Mr. McKendree, sympathizing with him, sent in his resignation as a minister, but the Conference agreed. Rev. McKendree soon obtained leave to travel with Bishop Asbury, that he might ascertain for himself whether his impressions had been well founded. In a short time he was convinced, he therefore devoted himself to a careful examination of the Rules and Discipline of the Church as drawn up by John Wesley, as established by the General Conference in the U. S. A. McKendree became convinced both of their harmony with the primitive church and of their particular adaptedness to the circumstances and wants of this nation.
In 1793 the Rev. McKendree returned the next year. For the next three years, his circuit was vast—extending from Chesapeake Bay to the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains. In 1796 he became Presiding Elder. In 1798, he was appointed to the Baltimore conference, in 1800 he went with Bishop Asbury and Bishop Richard Whatcoat to the Western Conference, which met that year at Bethel, Kentucky. Rev. McKendree was appointed the Presiding Elder of the Kentucky-Holston District, 1800-01. In 1801, the conference sent McKendree to oversee the church's efforts in Southeastern Ohio, Kentucky and western Virginia and part of Illinois, he subsequently became Presiding Elder on the Cumberland District. He served as a circuit preacher in addition to his organizational efforts, becoming a respected figure in the region, he was the leader of the Great Revival in the West. The Rev. William McKendree became know and most esteemed because of his popular talents in the pulpit and his faithful attention to every part of his work.
The 1808 General Conference of the M. E. Church, meeting in Baltimore, elected him to the office of Bishop. Indeed, when called to preach before the General Conference, such was the power and unction connected with his sermon, that Bishop Asbury was quoted as having said at its close, "That sermon will make McKendree bishop." From that time Bishop McKendree traveled with Bishop Asbury, or alone, over every part of the Church. His first episcopal tour of 1,500 miles extended through Virginia, Tennessee and Illinois. After 1816 he was Senior Bishop for nineteen years. In 1830, he lent his support to the Lebanon Seminary, Illinois; as a result, the school chose to change its name to McKendree College. Bishop McKendree never married, his family had moved to Sumner County, Tennessee about 1810. So when the bishop was not traveling, he called that area home, he died 5 March 1835 at the home of his brother, Dr. James McKendree, in Sumner County near Nashville. One of his last expressions was said to have been, "All is well."
Bishop Matthew Simpson wrote of Bishop McKendree: He was a man of great energy and genius, was pious and modest to timidity. His mind was clear and logical, his knowledge varied and extensive, his imagination lively but well regulated, his eloquence was unusually powerful, he was careful in the administration of discipline, intruduced system into all the operations of the church. Bishop McKendree's influence was patent everywhere, but was he regarded in the West, he had given years of earnest labor to establishing Methodism on the western frontier. He therefore felt a abiding interest in the success thereof, he thus earned the nickname "Father of Western Methodism", was considered one of the greatest Bishops of the M. E. Church. People named for Bishop McKendree include William McKendree Springer, William McKendree Robbins, William McKendree Gwin and James McKendree Reiley's son William McKendree Reiley. List of bishops of the United Methodist Church Leete, Frederick DeLand. Methodist Bishops. Nashville, The Methodist Publishing House, 1948.
Paine, Robert. Life and Times of William McKendree: Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 2 volumes. Nashville, 1874. Accessed via Google Book Search Short, Roy Hunter. Chosen to be Consecrated: The Bishops of The Methodist Church, 1784-1968. Lake Junaluska, N. C. General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church, 1976. Simp
BJC HealthCare is a non-profit health care organization based in St. Louis, Missouri, it is the St. Louis area's—and one of Missouri's—biggest employers. BJC includes two nationally recognized academic hospitals – Barnes–Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children's Hospital, which are both affiliated with the Washington University School of Medicine. BJC HealthCare was created in 1993 when Barnes–Jewish Inc. merged with Christian Health Services with the intent to create a system consisting of a large urban teaching facility and a network of suburban community hospitals. In 1994, Missouri Baptist Medical Center and St. Louis Children's Hospital joined BJC HealthCare. In addition to operating 12 hospitals in Missouri and Illinois, BJC HealthCare operates BJC Home Care Services, the oldest home care service west of the Mississippi, which offers hospice, home infusion and medical equipment services. BJC HealthCare facilities rank among the top health care institutions in the country. Flagship hospitals are Barnes–Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children's Hospital, affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine.
Barnes–Jewish Hospital is the largest hospital in Missouri with 1,228 beds and is known as the flagship of BJC HealthCare. It is the adult teaching hospital for Washington University School of Medicine and is one of three Level I trauma centers in St. Louis.. Barnes–Jewish was formed by the 1996 merger of two hospitals, Barnes Hospital and The Jewish Hospital of St. Louis, which were built in proximity to each other on the eastern edge of Forest Park. Barnes Hospital opened on December 1914, at its current location on Kingshighway Boulevard. Leaders of the St. Louis Jewish community established a hospital in 1902 on Delmar Boulevard. Jewish Hospital moved to its current location two blocks from Barnes Hospital in 1927; the current facility houses the Charles F. Knight Emergency and Trauma Center, a 52,000-square-foot, 61-bed Level I trauma center that includes two full-body CT scanners and six trauma/critical care rooms. Connected to rooftop helipad via a dedicated elevator. Barnes–Jewish Hospital contains within the Center for Advanced Medicine the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, a partnership between Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Washington University School of Medicine.
The Siteman Cancer Center is the only cancer center in Missouri which holds Comprehensive Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. Barnes–Jewish Hospital has earned a place on U. S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of America’s best hospitals for the past 20 years and is home to 15 specialties ranked among the best nationally. In 2012, the hospital was ranked 6th in the country by U. S. News & World Report. Barnes-Jewish Hospital received a 2 star rating from medicare in 2016. Built in 1921 in Columbia, Boone Hospital Center is a 394-bed hospital owned by Boone County and administered by BJC HealthCare; the facility is a Level II trauma center as well as a regional referral center excelling in heart services, neurology and cancer services. Boone Hospital operates five ambulances in Boone County, they are located at bases in Centralia, the northeast side of Columbia, the north-central side of Columbia, the southeast side of Columbia, on the Boone Hospital grounds. They, along with the University Hospital ambulance service, provide emergency care for the entire county.
In 2005, the hospital became the first Mid-Missouri facility to receive the Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, it was honored as one of the nation’s top 100 hospitals by Thomson Reuters in 2010. Boone Hospital Center and its Stewart Cancer Center are members of the Siteman Cancer Network, an affiliation with regional medical centers, aimed at improving the health of individuals and communities through cancer research and prevention. Alton Memorial Hospital is a 206-bed hospital located in Alton, serving the River Bend area of southwestern Illinois; the facility offers the area's only balloon angioplasty program, open MRI through Twin Rivers MRI Center, CT services, PET imaging, nuclear medicine and other advanced medical imaging services, as well as cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. The hospital operates a 24-hour emergency center and the region's only hospital-based ALS ambulance service. Alton Memorial Hospital opened a new 76-bed patient care tower; the Duncan Wing houses the hospital's Surgical Care Unit, Intermediate Care Unit and Medical Care Unit.
Six observation rooms are available on the ground floor. Alton Memorial Hospital was a recipient of a 2009-2010 Hospital Value Index: Best in Value Award by a Data Advantage LLC study. Barnes–Jewish St. Peters Hospital is a 111-bed facility in St. Peters that serves St. Charles and Warren counties; the hospital has a 15-bed emergency department, as well numerous other patient services, including cardiac surgery and pulmonary services. In 2004, the hospital completed an $18.5 million expansion which included new Cardiology and Women's centers, in addition to the Outpatient Surgery and Endoscopy Center. Construction was begun in 2008 on a two-story $28 million expansion project to add 64 additional patient rooms, a new inpatient pharmacy and medical office space to the facility. Barnes–Jewish St. Peters houses a satellite facility of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, a p
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, defined by the federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most identify, indicate whether or not they are of Hispanic or Latino origin. The racial categories represent a social-political construct for the race or races that respondents consider themselves to be and, "generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country." OMB defines the concept of race as outlined for the US Census as not "scientific or anthropological" and takes into account "social and cultural characteristics as well as ancestry", using "appropriate scientific methodologies" that are not "primarily biological or genetic in reference." The race categories include both national-origin groups. Race and ethnicity are considered separate and distinct identities, with Hispanic or Latino origin asked as a separate question. Thus, in addition to their race or races, all respondents are categorized by membership in one of two ethnic categories, which are "Hispanic or Latino" and "Not Hispanic or Latino".
However, the practice of separating "race" and "ethnicity" as different categories has been criticized both by the American Anthropological Association and members of US Commission on Civil Rights. In 1997, OMB issued a Federal Register notice regarding revisions to the standards for the classification of federal data on race and ethnicity. OMB developed race and ethnic standards in order to provide "consistent data on race and ethnicity throughout the Federal Government; the development of the data standards stem in large measure from new responsibilities to enforce civil rights laws." Among the changes, OMB issued the instruction to "mark one or more races" after noting evidence of increasing numbers of interracial children and wanting to capture the diversity in a measurable way and having received requests by people who wanted to be able to acknowledge their or their children's full ancestry rather than identifying with only one group. Prior to this decision, the Census and other government data collections asked people to report only one race.
The OMB states, "many federal programs are put into effect based on the race data obtained from the decennial census. Race data are critical for the basic research behind many policy decisions. States require these data to meet legislative redistricting requirements; the data are needed to monitor compliance with the Voting Rights Act by local jurisdictions". "Data on ethnic groups are important for putting into effect a number of federal statutes. Data on Ethnic Groups are needed by local governments to run programs and meet legislative requirements." The 1790 United States Census was the first census in the history of the United States. The population of the United States was recorded as 3,929,214 as of Census Day, August 2, 1790, as mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution and applicable laws."The law required that every household be visited, that completed census schedules be posted in'two of the most public places within, there to remain for the inspection of all concerned...' and that'the aggregate amount of each description of persons' for every district be transmitted to the president."
This law along with U. S. marshals were responsible for governing the census. One third of the original census data has been lost or destroyed since documentation; the data was lost in 1790–1830 time period and included data from: Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia. Census data included the name of the head of the family and categorized inhabitants as follows: free white males at least 16 years of age, free white males under 16 years of age, free white females, all other free persons, slaves. Thomas Jefferson the Secretary of State, directed marshals to collect data from all thirteen states, from the Southwest Territory; the census was not conducted in Vermont until 1791, after that state's admission to the Union as the 14th state on March 4 of that year. There was some doubt surrounding the numbers, President George Washington and Thomas Jefferson maintained the population was undercounted; the potential reasons Washington and Jefferson may have thought this could be refusal to participate, poor public transportation and roads, spread out population, restraints of current technology.
No microdata from the 1790 population census is available, but aggregate data for small areas and their compatible cartographic boundary files, can be downloaded from the National Historical Geographic Information System. In 1800 and 1810, the age question regarding free white males was more detailed; the 1820
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