A Generation Experiences Fewer Failed Marriages
by Michael Heath
Millennials is a term coined by Neil Howe and William Strauss in their book Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069 to define those born between 1981 and 1996. The label is a reference to the oldest in the group becoming adults around the year 2000. Sociologists like to study this demographic (sometimes called Gen Y but the label is fading) since they are the first to be “digital natives” (i.e., having grown up with the internet, tech devices and social media).
Some Stats Are Not What They Seem
It is commonly said that half of all first marriages will eventually end in divorce. But there is some good news. According to U.S. Census data the rate is actually somewhere in the forty to fifty percent range. That means that more first marriages will succeed than fail. Research shows that millennials (now age 27 to 42) are doing even better with a divorce rate of around twenty-five percent.
Reasons for Successful Marriages
There are a few reasons why this generation appears to be doing better when it comes to tying the knot. Rather than seek out a life partner in their early twenties, they are more inclined to focus on education and careers; college-educated groups have always divorced at a lower rate. Millennials usually choose to marry later while being more selective at choosing a mate.
Most in this group had baby boomer parents, a generation that experienced a high divorce rate, so it is believed that millennials have become a bit cautious after seeing what their parents and friends’ parents went through. A driving force in Mom and Dad’s generation was society’s expectation that young people get married and raise a family. Millennials are not feeling the same societal pressures that some earlier generations did.
Cohabitating Is Becoming a Habit
Another trend of millennials is to live together before marrying. Such arrangements may not put a smile on a clergyman’s face, but many believe that sharing a place gives them a chance to know whether they really are compatible.
There are those in this age bracket who go as far as purchasing a home together without marrying. This on the surface may seem wonderful when the relationship experiences bliss, but when things fall apart without a written agreement, unforeseen legal problems can arise. Breakups like these have come to be known as millennial divorces.
Getting It Right?
A funny quip is that the greatest cause of divorce is marriage. Most millennials are being particularly selective about whom they marry, preferring to wait before hurrying to the wedding chapel. Getting an education, establishing a career while postponing marriage to become more certain in choosing a life partner are now pillars of the millennial ethos. Statistics show that this is a decision-making formula that is nothing to laugh at.