Activism Economics

1 in 4 Millennials Will Never Get Married

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Most people are well aware that adults today don’t get married as young as they used to. Still, you’ve probably experienced explaining why you haven’t settled down yet to some of your old-fashioned relatives during awkward family dinners.

But you shouldn’t feel weird or embarrassed about their prodding. If you’re a 25-year-old today, it’s very normal for you to not be married yet. In fact, the median age of men and women at the time of their first marriage was 28.7 and 26.5, respectively, in 2011, according to the Pew Research Center. Those ages are almost six years older than the median age of Americans in 1960 that were in their first marriage.

And the truth of the matter is, many 25-year-olds may not ever get married. The Pew Research Center recently made projections based on census data and found that a quarter of today’s single 25 to 34-year-olds may still not be married by the time they reach their mid-40s to mid-50s. That would be a record-high percentage.

Pew also found that 20 percent of adults ages 25 and older in 2012 had never been married, compared to 9 percent in 1960. In 2012, men were also more likely to be single than women, 23 percent to 17 percent, respectively, a gender gap that has widened since 1960 when 10 percent of men and 8 percent of women ages 25 and older were single.

The survey also found that fewer young adults now say they hope to get married some day with 53 percent in 2014 compared to 61 percent in 2010. The percentage of young adults who aren’t sure if they want to get married has also increased from 27 percent in 2010 to 32 percent in 2014.

There are several reasons why Millennials are increasingly staying single. One is just that adults are generally marrying later in life, as mentioned previously. Young adults also don’t think marriage is as important as previous generations did. Other reasons Millennials have given for not getting married are not finding someone who has what they’re looking for in a spouse, they’re not financially stable enough to get married and they are too young to settle down.

Instead of marrying, some young adults, to the tune of 24 percent of never-married individuals ages 25 to 34, are living with their partners, according to a Pew analysis. However, this hasn’t become normal enough of a practice to completely replace marriage yet, the report’s author’s Wendy Wang and Kim Parker told TIME.

“Cohabitation is much less common than marriage and cohabiting relationships are much less stable than marriages,” Parker told TIME. “It’s hard to imagine marriage being replaced any time soon.”

So we can all breathe a bit easier now knowing that the reason Millennials aren’t getting married isn’t because they can’t find love; they’re just holding off until they’re ready. That’s quite the responsible rationale coming from a much-maligned age group, don’t you think?

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“1 in 4 Millennials Will Never Get Married”