Economic security play an important role in their likelihood to marry. Being a single woman is associated with the poverty, high housing costs, and living in the home of a parent were associated with lower marriage rates across counties. In the past men’s economic characteristics are more often significantly associated with marriage than those of women, as more resent research suggests that the economic characteristics of both men and women matter to marriage among young adults today.
There has been a small but significant increase in the number of childless women in their early 30s over the past decade. The rise in childlessness between 2012 and 2016 among women ages 30 to 34 is significant.
This increase does not necessarily mean that women are choosing not to be mothers because women in their early 30s may go on to have children later. These numbers simply reflect the increasing delay in childbearing found by others. The Census Bureau’s recent report on young adults captures the trend of delaying marriage and childbearing among those aged 18 to 34. The scariest thing they either end up as a single mom, or never have a child at all.
In 1967, 59 percent of adults who lived without their own children lived with a spouse. Another 11 percent identified as a child of the householder, and 14 percent as living in some other arrangement, such as with a boarder or roommate. In addition, 14 percent lived alone, and less than 1 percent lived with an unmarried partner. The biggest change in the last five decades comes from the decline in married households — down to 44 percent — and the rise in householders living alone (20 percent) or with a partner (8 percent).
Delaying marriage is related to delaying childbirth. The median age at first marriage has gone from 20.6 to 27.4 for women and from 23.1 to 29.6 for men since 1967. Age at first birth increased as well. Most babies are born to a married couple, so it is natural to see shifts in the percentage of adults who live with no children in particular age groups.
As cohabitation and out-of-wedlock births increase among the broader population, social scientists predict that marriage with children will continue its decades-long retreat into relatively high-income exclusivity.
In this generally interesting article, phrases like “the elite? and “marry down? (regarding class) brought to mind a more separated, gilded era of upper- and lower-class citizens, which was disturbing at best. Similar to income, education level, and domicile type, it is clear that trends in family structure can be correlated to class. However, I don’t think it is necessary to juxtapose images of luxurious married couples and struggling cohabiting singles.
It is hardly coincidence that the two examples in this article illustrate extreme scenarios. The married couple lives with their grade-school-aged son in a gated community and their combined income is easily $300,000. The young, cohabiting couple in the article lives with a parent; they can’t afford their own place due to a combined income of less than $20,000. Citing earlier failed marriages and observed unhappiness in their parents’ marriages, the couple “cannot imagine getting married? One partner even stated, “Marriage ruins life”? The contrast of the two cases effectively illustrates the article’s point, but their disparity is grating to me. Given the right examples, wouldn’t it be possible to “prove? anything?
In any case, I still find the point of the article interesting, even if the language distracted me. The idea that marriage might be an unaffordable luxury is intriguing; does the perceived expense assume that the marriage may not last? Or is it the wedding itself? Does the combination of incomes and cost of living fail to offset these variable costs? If this article is accurate, then the costs associated with children can be discounted, so I am unsure of the elements that make up a “luxury? marriage.
In the next section I will try to give 2 reasonable explanations – why this trend is on the rise.
Marriage Is Too Expensive. Every Millennial Man Knows That!
Marriage is efficient in the economic sense only when both people in the union can specialize in the area of production in which they have a comparative advantage. If person A earns more than person B, and A and B have children together then A should work outside the home and B should put her career aside to take care of children.
If, for some reason, B doesn’t want to spend years of her/his life wiping runny noses and instead stays in the workforce, then the marriage is technically inefficient in that A and B are not maximizing the potential gains from the trade. So in order to encourage the efficient allocation of household resources, A needs to promise B future compensation for the time he/she spends taking care of the family instead of earning an income.
This would have been a very convincing story thirty years ago and, in fact, I am not sure this is really any different than the explanation for marriage given by Gary Becker in his famous Treatise on the Family (published in 1981). I think the source of this apparent contradiction – that people want to be married but really don’t see the point – is that household production is no longer maximized when one person sacrifices their career to care for the family.
Too Many Fish in the Sea. That is also well known to men…
When choosing a partner, having more options in online dating actually leads to feeling overwhelmed because there’s too much to think about, resulting in mistakes, poor quality of choice in partner (maybe choosing someone who may not be the best fit for you), and ultimately decreased enjoyment with one’s choice. For example, it has been shown that if online daters actually do pick a partner, the larger the pool from which one chooses said partner, the more likely one is to experience dissatisfaction with their choice after having made it – a sort of “buyer’s remorse” in relationships. There is no conclusive evidence that relationships from an online dating background are less satisfying than offline relationships, with some research even indicating that relationships where the partners met online could potentially be more satisfying. Taking a moment to think about what you’re looking for and remembering that each profile is another human being also looking for a connection, not just a combination of looks + hobbies + job + and more, can do wonders to stave off the overwhelming effect of so many choices and help you catch the right fish for you.