The marriage rate is down, but what is interesting is that there are those groups that are only delaying it and the ones who are deciding against it altogether. The Pew Research center has come out with yet again another revealing study—this one on the decline of marriage in the U.S.
In 1960, almost 90% of mid-twenties to mid-thirties adults had already been married—today it’s 50%. While the trend is broad and cuts across all demographics, there are notable differences when they are viewed more closely. Well-off, well-educated Americans are only delaying marriage—usually into their 30’s, when their rate is close to past generations. They are also still less likely to have kids out of wedlock and less likely to get divorced. It appears money is an important variable here.
For those who are poorly educated and less well-off—many aren’t getting married at all. There is a percentage that is marrying later, but many have kids out of wedlock and their divorce rate overall is higher than their more affluent counterparts.
The following statistic reminds me of one that came out years ago that said a woman who had reached 40 and was still single, had a greater chance of being killed by a terrorist than of getting married. In other words, this one could be very difficult for young women to hear. Pew estimates that one quarter of people today who are between 25 and 34 will never marry, or at least not before the age of 55- well past child-bearing and the younger, building years of their lives. This statistic can be and is challenged by some, as it is not a hard one but is deduced from other data and is only a projection of sorts. Take a deep breath young ladies out there.
It is certain that folks are marrying later, but the majority eventually do—at present 70% by the age of 35. This is down, but it is still the majority. I know, you are worried about being in the other 30%, and that topic is for another blog.
If you are older than 35 and poorly educated, your chances drop even more significantly. So having a college degree makes you better marriage material, according to the statistics. Maybe there is something to the old joke about the “Mrs.” degree. What is interesting about this study overall, is that income is the most important factor in when and if folks marry and go on to have children.
78% of women surveyed said it was “very important” for a prospective spouse to have a steady job. This was their highest ranked requirement. Their feelings about this are reflected in the number of men with a steady job and those without—those with, have a higher marriage rate.
Bottom line—if marriage and family are your goal, work on getting a good education and becoming financially stable. Money matters in dating, marriage, the decision to have kids and the divorce rate.
Want to read the study?