Modified Mar. 12, 2014

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Model Answer, Cambridge Practice IELTS Tests, Book 6, Test 4, Task 1


The chart of marital status shows a trend towards an unmarried status for Americans between the years 1970 and 2000, with the percentage of married people in the population decreasing from 70% to about 59% over this period, despite the slight decrease in people of widowed status between these years. The decreased percentage of married people over these three decades mostly reflects the increase in the percentage of never-married adults in the population, as shown in the lower chart, from 14% to 20% over this period, as well as the increase in the percentage of divorced people from about 2% to 9%.

The upper chart shows the progress of this trend, as seen at four equally spaced intervals over this 30-year period. Although the marriage rate remained constant in 1970 and 1980 at 2.5 million per year, divorce numbers increased over this period from 1 to 1.4 million per year. This preponderance of divorces was further compounded in the next two decades by the 0.5 million decrease in the marriage rate, while the divorce rate decreased a smaller 0.4 million.

Word count = 177



Not only are the figures of 2% and 9% not representing divorces, they are also not representing all people in those two years who have been divorced. How is that, you may ask. Well, although this fact is not vital for interpreting the data that has been given and for writing the essay, a very large percentage of married people in the U.S. have been married once or twice before. Many of those married people in that chart had the status of divorced at some previous time. The bottom chart is simply a snapshot of the marital status of the adult population at two points in time.