Marriage was once an economic arrangement where partners contributed to each other’s success. This was highlighted in the early 2000s with the increasing number of college graduates marrying people with the same educational qualifications.
At this point, the median age for the first marriage of many people was 27 for males and 26 for females. But this figure increased to 30 for males and 28 for females in 2020. One of the reasons for this situation is the increasing number of millennials who prefer to marry later in life to focus on dealing with their financial obligations first.
Later Marriage for Millennials
Millennials have opted to prioritize their financial success over marriage. This resulted in an increasing number of young adults marrying at a later age compared to previous generations. In the 1960s, around nine percent of young adults were not married. The number increased to approximately 31 percent in 2019.
Many of these young adults, who are essentially millennials, prefer to be single while others have other prioritize other than marriage as of the moment. Many millennials feel their finances are not yet ready to commit to getting married.
They have to deal with their student loans and feel the need to rise on the corporate ladder before considering marriage. Some are also showing some skepticism towards marriage since many of these marriages end up in divorces.
Some are even happy being single. They have a mindset that they do not need anyone to become happy. And if they need to see someone, they use technology to find other singles online. So, they do not feel the need to get married at a young age.
Millennials also feel that they have to know more about their partner before committing themselves. They want to know if they can live with a person for the rest of their lives. So, they end up living with their partner before they get married.
Cohabitation Over Marriage
Around 12 percent of millennials opted for cohabitation over marriage when they were younger. Some even bought homes together while they were living together before getting married. The number is much higher compared to the generation of their parents.
Cohabitation is now a part of the process among millennials before they get engaged. Some even prioritize homeownership before getting married, which shows the generational shift when it comes to marriage.
The situation also shows the high cost of homeownership. And splitting the mortgage is a better option for millennial couples as they try to deal with other financial obligations before they tie the knot.
Lesser Married Millennials
Aside from marrying late, some millennials have opted to remain single. As of 2019, around 44 percent of millennials have remained unmarried. Even as some single millennials will get married later, about 25 percent will not get married at all.
One of the reasons is that millennials do not find marriage as necessary as other generations. The marriage rate among US adults went down to around 50 percent in 2017. Another reason is the changes in traditional gender roles as male-dominated industries have changed. More women have taken the roles that were once in the realm of men.
Even as many single millennials want to get married in the future, it is not as crucial as with the previous generations. While some have prioritized their financial obligations, others have not yet found the partner they’re looking for. Due to this, they are remained single and are still looking for someone to spend the rest of their lives with.
A Decline in Divorce Rates
One of the more significant effects of the delay in marrying among millennials is the decline in divorce rates. The divorce rate has gone by 24 percent since 1980 as millennials opt to stay single for a longer time.
They are focusing on establishing their careers and taking care of their student loans before they consider marriage. They know that if they get into an unstable marriage, it will likely end up in divorce.
In these situations, they have to divide their property in divorce cases. And a lawyer is necessary to ensure they do not encounter issues with the proceedings. Due to this, millennials also sign prenuptial agreements before they get married to ensure the proper division of assets in case they separate after marriage.
This also demonstrates that some millennials also consider marriage as an economic partnership. And these agreements cover assets and finances they acquired before and after they get married.
The attitude of millennials towards marriage has changed the way people look at the ceremony. It also led to an increasing number of single adults who prioritize their financial status over finding a life partner.