- Millennials are waiting longer to get married and have children than baby boomers did.
- Millennials are more open to interracial and interfaith relationships than older Americans.
- The cost of weddings is rising, but the divorce rate is decreasing.
Millennials are doing marriage differently than their parents and grandparents. They’re often lambasted for “killing” industries or struggling to “adult,” but they’re also more accepting of interfaith and interracial relationships, are striving for more egalitarian housekeeping and parenting roles, and are getting divorced at a lower rate than baby boomers.
Here are nine ways that marriage has changed recently.
Most couples meet through friends, but more and more millennials are meeting their significant others online.
A recent study published in the journal American Sociological Review looked at how couples met between 1940 and 2010. It surveyed more than 3,000 American adults.
Most continue to meet through friends the way they have for six decades, but the popularity of meeting people online has skyrocketed. In 2010, it nearly overtook the number of couples who met at a bar or restaurant.
Millennials are waiting longer to get married.
INSIDER Data analysed US Census Bureau data and found that the average age of men and women at their first marriage has increased over time.
In 1940, the average age of men at their first marriage was 24.3, and the average age of women was 21.5. From 1950 until the late 1970s, the average ages of men and women dipped to 23 and 20, respectively. But since the 1980s, the average ages of first weddings have been increasing. For men, the average age has climbed from 25 in the late ’80s to 29.8 in 2018. For women, the average age went from 23 to 27.8.
According to a 2016 Gallup poll, 20% of Americans ages 18 to 30 are married, compared to 32% of Gen X-ers and 40% of baby boomers when they were the same age.
Interracial marriage wasn’t legal nationwide until 1967.
When baby boomers were getting married for the first time, there were laws in place dictating who they were and weren’t allowed to marry that have since been disbanded. In 1967, the Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia struck down states’ antimiscegenation laws as unconstitutional.
The Pew Research Center found in 2010 that millennials are “significantly more likely to be accepting of interracial marriage” than older age groups. They found that 73% of 30 to 49 year olds, 55% of 50 to 64 year olds, and just 38% of those ages 65 and older say they would be fine with a family member’s marriage to someone of another race or ethnicity. For millennials (18 to 29 year olds), that number is more like 90%.
Millennials can marry their partners regardless of gender or sexual orientation, but baby boomers didn’t have that right.
Same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states in 2015 with the Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges.
Public support for same-sex marriage has also grown over the past decade, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2007, most Americans (54%) opposed same-sex marriage. Ten years later, in 2017, more Americans supported it (62%) than opposed it (32%).
Interfaith marriage is more accepted among millennials.
Nearly four in 10 Americans (39%) who have been married since 2010 are married to someone of a different faith, according to Pew Research’s Religious Landscape Study. That number is even higher among unmarried people living with a romantic partner, with nearly half of them (49%) living with a partner in a different religious group.
Only 19% of Americans who married before 1960 are married to someone of a different faith.
The average cost of weddings is on the rise.
In 2017, The Knot reported that the average wedding cost had risen to $US31,213.
According to a survey conducted on behalf of Best Buy, and highlighted in Glamour in 2015, 70% of newlyweds say their weddings were more elaborate than their parents’.
The divorce rate has decreased over time.
INSIDER Data sourced figures from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and found that the divorce rate has been steadily decreasing since the mid-1980s. In 2017, the rate reached 2.9 divorces per 1,000 Americans with only 787,251 divorces total – the lowest it’s been since 1968.
Data scientist Randal S. Olson writes that the only major spike in the divorce rate was after World War II, probably because of “pre-WWII marriages coming to an abrupt end once the romance of wartime marriage wore off.”
INSIDER’s Kim Renfro reported that some sociologists say there could be a link between declining divorce rates and more people deciding to live together before marriage.
Millennials are having fewer kids than baby boomers and are waiting longer to have them.
A mother’s age at the birth of her first child has been steadily increasing for decades. According to data from the Centres for Disease Control, in 1980, it was 22.7. In 2013, it was 26.
Experts think there are several reasons for the decline including economic factors such as rising education costs and the 2008 recession, better sex education, and women choosing to focus on their careers and start families later in life.
Millennial men are more likely to help with housework and child care, but women still do most of it.
As gender roles shift and women focus more on their careers before having children, millennial men are also shifting to take on more housekeeping and parenting responsibilities – or, at least, they’re trying to.
“The majority of young men and women say they would ideally like to equally share earning and care giving with their spouse,” Sarah Thébaud, a sociologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told The New York Times. “But it’s pretty clear that we don’t have the kinds of policies and flexible work options that really facilitate egalitarian relationships.”
- Read more:
- This man has studied relationships for 40 years and claims he can determine the success of a marriage in 15 minutes – here’s how
- 10 couples of more than 50 years share photos from when they were younger – and it will show you the power of everlasting love
- 10 questions you should ask someone before marrying them
- I keep my money separate from my spouse – and it’s key to happiness in our marriage
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