Print out this article and send it to your mom/dad/aunt (whoever raised you, really): New research suggests that millennials aren’t ever getting married and their loved ones need to get with the program and stop nagging them.
While marriage isn’t completely dead (contrary to what some millennials would like you to believe), it’s certainly on the downswing. With many millennials reaching the age at which Americans have “historically gotten married” but aren’t actually doing so themselves, it is predicted that by 2016, only 6.7 people will get married per every thousand. That’s going to be a record low for both parents and the wedding industrial complex, which has traditionally enjoyed much higher numbers in the past, like 16.4/1000 in 1946.
Here’s why millennials are waiting or choosing not to get married, via The Washington Post:
1) Millennials continue to delay marriage because of economics, education and preference. In 1960, fewer than 8 percent of women and 13 percent of men married for the first time at age 30 or older, University of Maryland sociologist Philip Cohen has calculated. Now, nearly one-third of women and more than 40 percent of men who marry for the first time are 30 or older.
So it’s not like any of us unmarried types are running behind schedule. You hear us, moms and dads of the world? We’re just doing things differently because we are smarter, cooler, and have more shit to do than get married before the age of thirty, like getting a master’s degree or choosing to shack up in sin with our partners. And considering the high prices so many people have to pay for their wedding, is it any wonder that some might be putting a down payment on a house instead of paying Ryan Cabrera to serenade them during the reception?
2) The United States continues to become more secular and less religious. The Pew Research Center reported recently that the share of Americans who describe themselves as Christians dropped from 78 percent to 71 percent between 2007 and 2014, while the number of atheists, agnostics or those of no faith grew from 16 percent to 23 percent.
3) Millennials have alternatives. In the past, living together or having children “out of wedlock” was met with severe social stigma, but no longer.Cohabitation rates are on the rise — 48 percent of women interviewed between 2006 and 2010 for the National Survey of Family Growth cohabitated with a partner as a first union, compared with 34 percent in 1995.
But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t still having babies, so if your parents or other primary caregivers are trying to force grandchildren out of you they’re likely not going to stop asking for them anytime soon. They’re just going to have to accept that more and more unmarried women are giving birth, whether in a relationship or single. And while The Post suggests that the marriage numbers may rise again—a poll of high school students suggests that marriage is still important to them—it’s unlikely that we’ll see baby boom numbers ever again. Which is fine, really, because none of us can afford to go to weddings anymore anyway.
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