1940 United States Census
The Sixteenth United States Census, conducted by the Census Bureau, determined the resident population of the United States to be 132,164,569, an increase of 7.3 percent over the 1930 population of 123,202,624 people. The census date of record was April 1, 1940. A number of new questions were asked including where people were 5 years before, highest educational grade achieved, information about wages; this census introduced sampling techniques. Other innovations included a field test of the census in 1939; this was the first census in which every state had a population greater than 100,000. The 1940 census collected the following information: In addition, a sample of individuals were asked additional questions covering age at first marriage and other topics. Full documentation on the 1940 census, including census forms and a procedural history, is available from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. Following completion of the census, the original enumeration sheets were microfilmed; as required by Title 13 of the U.
S. Code, access to identifiable information from census records was restricted for 72 years. Non-personally identifiable information Microdata from the 1940 census is available through the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. Aggregate data for small areas, together with electronic boundary files, can be downloaded from the National Historical Geographic Information System. On April 2, 2012—72 years after the census was taken—microfilmed images of the 1940 census enumeration sheets were released to the public by the National Archives and Records Administration; the records are indexed only by enumeration district upon initial release. Official 1940 census website 1940 Census Records from the U. S. National Archives and Records Administration 1940 Federal Population Census Videos, training videos for enumerators at the U. S. National Archives Selected Historical Decennial Census Population and Housing Counts from the U. S. Census Bureau Snow, Michael S. "Why the huge interest in the 1940 Census?"
CNN. Monday April 9, 2012. 1941 U. S Census Report Contains 1940 Census results 1940 Census Questions Hosted at CensusFinder.com
Shelby County, Alabama
Shelby County is a county of the U. S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census the population was 195,085; the county seat is Columbiana. The county is named in honor of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky from 1792 to 1796 and again from 1812 to 1816. Shelby County is included in the Birmingham -- AL Metropolitan Statistical Area. Shelby County was established on February 7, 1818, it was named for the Revolutionary War hero and the first Governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby. Beginning in 1820, the first county seat was located at Shelbyville; this settlement, long defunct, was located within the modern city limits of Pelham. The first courthouse was built of logs; the seat was moved to Columbia, now Columbiana, in 1826. Housed in an old school building, a new brick courthouse building was completed in 1854, it is now known as the Old Shelby County Courthouse and houses the Shelby County Museum and Archives. The current limestone courthouse was built from 1905–06, at a cost of $300,000. Shelby County has a long history in agriculture, since about 1990, it has become an important location for growing soybeans, which has exceeded cotton as the most important crop grown there.
Shelby County was the home of an early inland waterway, the Coosa River, it was the location of a early east-west railroad in Alabama that connected Atlanta, with locations to its west. Shelby County was crossed by an early north-south railroad, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, that connected Louisville, Decatur and Montgomery. With the advent of the automobile and the truck, Shelby County was soon crossed from north to south by U. S. Highway 31, the major one that followed the same route as the Louisville and Nashville Railroad did; the eastern part of Shelby County was crossed by U. S. Highway 231 and U. S. 280. Decades on, Shelby County was crossed by Interstate Highway 65. Hence, an important ingredient in the eventual growth of Shelby County has been its ready access to modern systems of transportation. Interstate 65 and U. S. Highway 31 have long provided strong connections between Shelby county and the more populous Jefferson County directly to its north, leading to suburban development in towns such as Pelham, Helena and Chelsea.
According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 810 square miles, of which 785 square miles is land and 25 square miles is water. Parts of Shelby County are crossed by the southernmost extensions of the Appalachian Mountains, such as Oak Mountain and Double Oak Mountain. However, large parts of Shelby County are much flatter, giving good land for pastures. Shelby County has lowlands along two rivers, one large man-made reservoir, Lay Lake, which borders Coosa and Chilton counties. Most of Shelby County is drained either by the Cahaba River, which flows along the northern edge of the county, to the southwest, or by the Coosa River, whose valley includes the eastern end of the county; these are both important rivers in Alabama. Much farther south, both the Cahaba River and the Coosa River flow into the Alabama River, thence to the Gulf of Mexico. To be more precise, the Coosa River and the Tallapoosa River flow together at Wetumpka, Alabama, to form the Alabama River, the Cahaba River is a tributary to that one farther to the west.
Waxahatchee Creek, a major tributary of the Coosa River, forms the southeastern portion of the border between Shelby County and Chilton County. St. Clair County Talladega County Coosa County Chilton County Bibb County Jefferson County As of the census of 2000, there were 143,293 people, 54,631 households, 40,590 families residing in the county; the population density was 180 people per square mile. There were 59,302 housing units at an average density of 75 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 89.80% White, 7.40% Black or African American, 0.33% Native American, 1.03% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.71% from other races, 0.72% from two or more races. 2.03% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The largest self-reported ancestry groups in Shelby County are: English, Irish, "American", Italian, Scots-Irish and Scottish. There were 54,631 households out of which 36.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.60% were married couples living together, 8.10% had a female householder with no husband present, 25.70% were non-families.
21.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.20% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.04. In the county, the population was spread out with 26.30% under the age of 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 33.70% from 25 to 44, 23.40% from 45 to 64, 8.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.60 males. The median income for a household in the county was $55,440, the median income for a family was $64,105. Males had a median income of $45,798 versus $31,242 for females; the per capita income for the county was $27,176. About 4.60% of families and 6.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.10% of those under age 18 and 8.20% of those age 65 or over. As of the census of 2010, there were 195,085 people, 74,072 households, 53,733 families residing in the county; the population density was 249 people per square mile.
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
Tuscaloosa is a city in and the seat of Tuscaloosa County in west central Alabama. Located on the Black Warrior River at the Atlantic Seaboard fall line of the Piedmont, it is the fifth-largest city in Alabama, with an estimated population of 100,287 in 2017; the city was known as Tuskaloosa until the early 20th century. Incorporated as a town on December 13, 1819, it was named after Tuskaloosa, the chief of a band of Muskogean-speaking people, they battled and were defeated by forces of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1540 in the Battle of Mabila, thought to have been located in what is now central Alabama. Tuscaloosa served as Alabama's capital city from 1826 to 1846. Tuscaloosa is the regional center of industry, commerce and education for the area of west-central Alabama known as West Alabama, it is the principal city of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Tuscaloosa and Pickens counties. In 2013 its estimated metro population was 235,628. Tuscaloosa is the home of The University of Alabama, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College.
While the city attracted international attention when Mercedes-Benz announced it would build its first automotive assembly plant in North America in Tuscaloosa County, the University of Alabama remains the dominant economic and cultural engine in the city, making it a college town. Tuscaloosa has been traditionally known as the "Druid City" because of the numerous water oaks planted in its downtown streets since the 1840s; the city has become known nationally for the sports successes of the University of Alabama in football. City leaders adopted the moniker "The City of Champions" after the Alabama Crimson Tide football team won the BCS National Championship in their 2009, 2011, again in their 2012 seasons; the Tide won the College Football Playoff in 2017 season. In 2008, the City of Tuscaloosa hosted the USA Olympic Triathlon trials for the Beijing Games. In recent years, Tuscaloosa has been named the "Most Livable City in America," one of America's "100 Best Communities for Young People," one of the "50 Best College Towns," and one of the "Best Places to Launch a Small Business."
Nearly 12,000 years ago, Native Americans or Paleo-Indians arrived in what today is referred to as the Deep South. They were hunter-gatherers who pursued the megafauna that became extinct following the end of the Pleistocene age. After thousands of years, successive indigenous cultures developed a rich and complex agricultural society. Emerging in the early first millennium of the common era were the people of the Mississippian culture. Like some of the generations before them, they built large earthwork mounds in planned sites that expressed their cosmology, their large earthworks, built for political and religious rituals from 900AD to 1500AD, expressed their cosmology. Their earthwork mounds and great plazas survive throughout the valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, as well as their tributaries in the Southeast. Descendant Native American tribes include the Muskogee people. Among the historical tribes living in the area of present-day Alabama at the time of European contact were the Iroquoian-speaking Cherokee in the interior, believed to have migrated south centuries before from the Great Lakes area.
The tribes of the coastal plain and Piedmont included the Muskogean-speaking Alabama, Choctaw and Mobile. In 1828, Andrew Jackson was elected president of the United States, he had gained popularity when he defeated the Creek at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814, following victories in the War of 1812. He long proposed Indian removal to an Indian Territory to be established west of the Mississippi, to make land available in the Southeast for European-American settlement. Jackson abandoned the policy of his predecessors of treating different Indian groups as separate nations. Instead, he aggressively pursued plans to move all Indian tribes living east of the Mississippi River. Following Congressional passage of the Indian Removal Act, in 1832 the Creek National Council signed the Treaty of Cusseta, ceding their remaining lands east of the Mississippi to the U. S. and accepting relocation to the Indian Territory. They had been under pressure from new settlers encroaching on their territory. Most Muscogee-speaking peoples were removed to Indian Territory during the Trail of Tears in 1834, although some remained behind.
Some Muscogee in Alabama live near Poarch Creek Reservation in Atmore. The pace of white settlement in the Southeast increased after the War of 1812 and the Treaty of Fort Jackson. A small assortment of log cabins soon arose near the large Creek village at the fall line of the river, which the new settlers named in honor of the sixteenth-century Chief Tuskaloosa of a Muskogean-speaking tribe. In 1817, Alabama became a territory. On December 13, 1819, the territorial legislature incorporated the town of Tuskaloosa, one day before Congress admitted Alabama to the Union as a state. From 1826 to 1846, Tuskaloosa was the capital of Alabama. In 1831, the University of Alabama was established and the town's population and economy grew but the relocation of the capital to Montgomery caused a severe decline; the state legislature established Alabama State Hospital for the Insane (now Bryce Hospital]] in Tuskaloosa in the 1850s, which helped restore the city's fortunes. During the Civil War following Alabama's secession from the Union, several thousand men from Tuscaloosa fought in the Confederate armies.
During the last weeks of the War, a brigade of Union troops raiding the city burned the campus of the university. The larger town was damaged in the battle and shared in the South's economic
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
Leeds is a tri-county municipality located in Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby counties in the State of Alabama and is an eastern suburb of Birmingham; as of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 11,773. Leeds was founded during the final years of the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era, it housed their families of Lehigh, a Portland cement manufacturing plant. The War of 1812, geography and three cultures shaped the history of Leeds. Lying at the crossroads of ancient Native-American paths in the center of Alabama, Leeds drew European and African-American settlers to a land of fertile growing seasons and rich sources of coal and mineral ore; the early settlers built churches and schools with many remaining in Cedar Grove, Oak Ridge, Ohanafeefee and Mt. Pleasant; the principal survey of Leeds was entered into Jefferson County Map Book 10, page 21, in 1908. The settlement, dating to 1818 and incorporating on April 27, 1887 as "Leeds", has existed along the banks of the Little Cahaba River. James Hamilton, a Scottish-Irish American veteran of the War of 1812 and first sheriff of Shelby County, settled in Cedar Grove in 1816.
John Richard Ingram Pashal Stewart, a Cherokee English teacher and American veteran of the War of 1812, settled at Ohanafeefee Village c.1840. At Oak Ridge in 1820 or 1821, European settlers formed Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the first CPC congregation in middle Alabama. By 1887, the original railroad pioneers included free African-American settlers who came to work at the Leeds cement plant and the Central of Georgia as the Georgia Pacific railroads; some gravitated to historic Mt. Pleasant Church where a handful of freed slaves had founded Scott City, Hillard Holley, Ciscero Davis, Jeff Harris, Bill Johnson started Leeds Negro/Primary School in 1921; the tale of John Henry was believed to have originated in Leeds. In this folk story, John Henry, the "steel-drivin' man", raced and won against a steam engine in the laying of railroad that penetrated the Oak Mountain Tunnel in Leeds. Retired chemistry professor and folklorist John Garst, of the University of Georgia, has argued that the contest happened at the Coosa Mountain Tunnel or the Oak Mountain Tunnel of the Columbus and Western Railway in Leeds on September 20, 1887.
Based on documentation that corresponds with the account of C. C. Spencer, who claimed in the 1920s to have witnessed the contest, Garst speculates that John Henry may have been a man named Henry, born a slave to P. A. L. Dabney, the father of the chief engineer of that railroad, in 1850. Since 2007, the city of Leeds has honored John Henry's legend during an annual festival held on the third weekend in September, the Leeds Downtown Folk Festival & John Henry Celebration. Leeds is located at 33°32′44″N 86°33′27″W within Jefferson County. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.5 square miles, of which 22.4 square miles is land and 0.2 square miles is water. As of the census of 2010, there were 11,773 people, 4,818 households; the population density was 514.9 people per square mile. There were 5,221 housing units at an average density of 205.2 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 78.7% White, 14.3% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2% from two or more races.
6.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 4,818 households out of which 21.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.5% were non-families. 14.8% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48. Not much family data was found. In the city, the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18 and 14.8% who were 65 years of age or older. No gender ratios were found; the median income for a household in the city was $44,149. The per capita income for the city was $22,716. About 14.6% of the population were below the poverty line. Leeds is served by the Leeds City School District. In 2009, the City of Leeds Board of Education authorized the construction—completed by the Wyatt Construction Company—of two new schools, Leeds Middle School and Leeds High School, they now have completed both schools. The Leeds BOE authorized the renovations of and additions to Leeds Elementary School, which began in 2008.
These renovations were made by the Wyatt Construction Company, include an expanded office and a new awning around the front of the school. In 2013, Leeds Elementary School gained attention for asking parents for permission to administer corporal punishment to their children. Alabama is one of 19 states that allow corporal punishment in schools, ranks third in the rate of students subjected to physical punishment. Leeds Primary School was constructed in 2016 to house Pre-K through 2nd graders to ease overcrowding at its elementary school; the school opened that same year. On December 4, 2008, the Leeds High School Greenwave football team won the Class 3A AHSAA State Football Championship and finished the year 15-0. On February 28, 2009, the Greenwave basketball team won the 3A AHSAA State Basketball Championship. On December 6, 2010 the Greenwave football team won the Class 3A AHSAA State Football Championship and finishing the year 15-0. On December 5, 2014 the Greenwave football team won the Class 4A AHSAA State Football Championship and finished the year 14-1.
On December 5, 2015 the Greenwave football team won the 4A AHSAA State Football Championship and finished the year 14-1. On February 14, 2015 the Greenwave wrestling team w
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