Why is there a Millennial Marriage Gap – Why is this generation not marrying?

By Dr. Nancy H. Wall, Special for USDR

How many of your friends, family members, and acquaintances, born after 1980, are still single today?  There are more Singles in this Millennial generation compared to Singles in previous generations at this same age.  Are Millenials not getting married, or are they are just not marrying as early!  They’re an impulsive generation, but they also like to, and are used to, testing things before making a final decision.   They want to make the right decisions and make commitments to the right things.  They also realize very clearly what the negative implications can be of wrong or poor decisions.

According to the PEW Research Center, March 2014, The Decline in Marriage Among the Young, only 26% of this generation is married, compared to much higher percentages of other generations, when they were the age of Millenials now.  By this time in their lives, 36% of Generation X, 48% of Baby Boomers, and 65% of the Silent Generation were married.  Despite these statistics, almost 70% of unmarried Millennials indicate they would like to marry.  By the time they hit 40 years of age, however, 30% of Millenials will most likely still be unmarried.
While they have no problem connecting to the internet, applying to college and graduating, or researching to find a positive work situation, they are finding themselves more detached from the thought of marriage than any other group in the past 100 years.  Do they know how to connect in real life with other people for a relationship, or are they more involved in surfing the internet, work, going to school longer?  Are they detached from the thought of marriage or just scared of it?  Are they lacking a solid economic foundation they feel is a necessary requirement for marriage?

The Institution of Marriage seems not to be as important to this generation as it was in the past.  At least, not as important right away for this group of Singles.  Perhaps they are just postponing marriage, as opposed to not getting married at all.  This might not be all that tragic, as older adults typically have a more solid financial situation, are more serious, and are seemingly more committed.  With our high divorce rate, especially in the US, data suggests that a greater number of successful marriages occur when both parties wait longer to get married.

This may explain why the Millenials are waiting longer to get married.  This highly technology focused generation, with so many choices, and such a vast amount of information at their fingertips, realizes that there are other options.  They do not have to rush into anything, including marriage, without testing the water first.  They have many alternatives which they can explore, before having to jump in with both feet.

Many Singles are choosing to cohabitate initially, as a “trial period,” to avoid the drama, trauma and hassles of divorce.  They are constantly exposed to marriages that end in divorce.  Not only with their immediate families and friends’ families, but our media constantly shares horror stories and occurrences of unhappy relationships and marriages.  Our Millenniums strive to make the best decisions they can for themselves.  Many are also choosing to have and raise families without being married.  Millennials are less likely than older generations to link marriage with parenthood.   A 2010 Pew Research survey found that 52% of Millennials believe that being a good parent is “one of the most important things” in life.  Just 30% feel the same way about having a successful marriage. This translates into a 22 percent gap in the way Millennials value parenthood over marriage.  Singles in this generation feel that they have to be more established, especially financially, before they get married.  They do not fear marriage or commitment; they just want to commit to the right things, including the right significant other, in the right situation, at the right time.

This generation also seems to be less committal with many institutions, other than just the institution of marriage.  For example, they are less bound to traditions and organized religion.  They hold high standards for work and partnerships, but they want to have it all!  They will also wait until they are certain of their decision in order to get it all! Their pressures have been minimal compared to previous generations, and they have not had to make major decisions as rapidly.  Although they still desire to be married at some point in their lives, they just may need to figure it out in their own time, at their own pace and in their own space!

Dr. Nancy H. Wall, Certified Life Coach and Matchmaker, is Founder and President of Tampa Bay MatchMakers.  She is passionate about helping singles connect.  Through her targeted relationship advice and introductions, numerous life-long partnerships and marriages have resulted.

Dr. Wall has dedicated herself personally and professionally to helping others.  A noted international speaker, she has inspired thousands of singles and couples.  She has been seen on ABC Action News, Tampabays10, My Fox 13, and in The New York Times, St. Petersburg Times, and duPont REGISTRY.

She earned her PhD in Education, an MBA, her B.S. in Psychology, and holds certifications in Matchmaking, Coaching, and Project Management.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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