Divorce rates plummet as millennials marry

As many of you know, I have been an avid student of dating, marriage and divorce trends in our culture for many decades. I was the one who waited until age 39 to marry the first time and I still got it wrong, divorcing at age 46. A few years later I started my own dating service. I saw it as a study of how Americans in midlife approached love and marriage. Turns out I met the man for me that way, and we have been living relatively happily ever after for the past fourteen years.

This is one of the reasons why I find the marriage behavior of millennials quite interesting:

Americans under the age of 45 have found a novel way to rebel against their elders: They’re staying married!

Gay marriage

“New data show younger couples are approaching relationships very differently from baby boomers, who married young, divorced, remarried and so on. Generation X and especially millennials are being pickier about who they marry, tying the knot at older ages when education, careers and finances are on track. The result is a U.S. divorce rate that dropped 18 percent from 2008 to 2016, according to an analysis by University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen.”

But with an interesting twist:

“Marriage is more and more an achievement of status, rather than something that people do regardless of how they’re doing.”  — Researcher Philip Cohen

It seems that the younger generation now sees marriage as a bit of a status symbol and, “Many poorer and less educated Americans are opting not to get married at all. They’re living together, and often raising kids together, but deciding not to tie the knot.”

This I find especially interesting in that these poorer couples could find a number of financial benefits from legal marriage. For example, married couples pay less taxes and save on medical insurance as a couple. I never saw marriage as a status issue. At the time I needed health insurance and got it through marriage.

There is no more important and personal issue than who we marry and why. At least some millennials are realizing that. Divorce is always difficult emotionally and in some cases traumatic. Most Boomers know that now. I see us as the transitional generation, who often did what we were told and perhaps got married young when we became pregnant, etc. Unfortunately many of us had to learn the hard way that:


8 thoughts on “Divorce rates plummet as millennials marry

  1. So interesting. From my perspective, I see fewer people getting married and even fewer educated people having kids. Having been happily married over 30 years, I think that’s unfortunate, so thanks for the uplifting post!


  2. Thank you so much for this, Laura!
    I actually find these statistics encouraging. The divorce rate dropping is very good news. For a long time, I feared that the fine old institution of marriage was on its way out. Status or not, if people are working to get (and then stay) married? Yep. Good news!


  3. Not taking any sides in this. Just reporting an interesting development. Working to stay in a positive marriage is always good. Getting out of one that demeans you in any way is also quite necessary at times! I do have to wonder what happens later in life, if these young couples find they have grown apart. What then?


  4. Thanks for the info. This is definitely the pattern I see in my late 20-something kids… At 27-30, none are in any rush to get to the proverbial alter. I remember turning 28 and thinking – ok… gotta get this show on the road. Divorced 13 years later (happily remarried for 19 now!).


  5. Pingback: Weekly Tales: Ember Edition

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