Most couples who decide to marry likely don’t believe they’ll ever divorce. Unfortunately, that is an all-too-real possibility for many people. Though some statistics in the past have claimed that half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, more recent studies are finding that the divorce rate is falling. Though that sounds promising, experts warn that the reasons for the drop may not be positive.
Researchers say that the lower divorce rate may be due to millennials. This age group is often blamed for the decline of various products and institutions, and it looks as though the divorce rate is also affected. However, whether you’re part of this age group or not here in Georgia, there are some valuable lessons in this surprising trend.
I do, but less often
The most recent study says that when comparing young adults from 2016 to the same age group in 2008, the first group is 18% less likely to divorce. Experts say that this isn’t just due to more people staying married but more because fewer young people overall are deciding to get hitched. Marriage used to be more of a “first milestone” for young people, but it seems to have become more of a status symbol.
The most recent census showed that the median age for a first marriage has risen as well. In 2003, men’s median married age was 27 and women 25. Contrasting that with 2018, the median age both men and women has gone up by three years, putting men at being almost 30 years old for their first marriage and women at 28.
Cohabitation over marriage
Some of these statistics are probably due to the increased likelihood of young people deciding to live together before tying the knot, or in some cases, instead of getting married at all. Fifteen percent of people aged 25 to 34 live with a partner, which is an increase of 3% since 2008. When looking at people under the age of 25, 9% live with a romantic partner but only 7% are married.
Reports suggest that it is not romantic notions that are causing young people to stay unwed but a desire to improve their financial situation. Experts say that income inequality and the necessity of college degrees may be to blame. It is much easier for young people to split up if they aren’t married.
Two kinds of cohabitation
If you’ve ever decided to move in with someone because you’re sure the two of you will marry, that’s one reason that couples choose to cohabitate. The other seems to be in order to solve a problem – perhaps the couple decides it makes more sense financially, one or both feel lonely, or they figure they’re at one another’s places all the time anyway. Research shows that the less income a couple has, the more quickly they’ll decide to live together, and in turn, the less likely they will marry.
Researchers have also discovered that young people who live together without the intention of eventually getting married are more likely to experience an unintended pregnancy. Those couples are also more likely to break up than married couples and have a lower income level.
None of this is meant to shame those who decide to delay marriage or who live together not knowing what the future holds. It is helpful information to have, and it reminds those who are going through a divorce that a split can happen to anyone. If you’re going through a divorce, just because millennials’ divorce rates are going down that doesn’t mean that you should feel bad for it. Sometimes, it is the best decision for everyone involved.