Millions of young people are waiting to say “I do,” as millennials delay marriage for a number of reasons, mostly due to financial concerns..
Today, the average age of marriage is 27 for women,and 29 for men. As recently as 1970, those numbers were closer to 21 for women and 23 for men. In the future, the average age will likely increase as young people increasingly face financial pressures that tend to delay marriage. While there other cultural shifts that explain why our generation is putting off marriage, such as dating apps, birth control, marriage laws, and parental divorce rates, money appears to be a major factor.
Can’t Buy Me Love
For millennials, marriage is seen by many as a profound financial commitment, particularly as many of us are starting our adult lives with a significant amount of student debt. Let’s say you fall for someone who also has student debt. Your eternal bliss might include thousands of dollars a month in student loan payments. Additionally, the less-than-stellar job market and wage stagnation have meant that financial stability has been out of reach for many people who are entering their prime years for marriage.
The cost of a wedding alone is prompting many to wait. According to costofwedding.com, the average wedding cost in the United States is $26,645. Couples typically spend between $20,000 and $33,000, and ceremonies in high cost areas like the Northeast and California tend to be much higher.
Picket fences ain’t cheap
Couples who take the plunge and getting married then embark on starting what many would consider a “real adult life” together. Expectations that typically accompany being a fully-functioning adult include homeownership. The price of real estate has increased significantly in recent years, and a house with enough room to raise a family in a large metro area will easily set you back $350,000.
Once you’re married and have a house, children often come next sequentially for many couples. A Department of Agriculture study from a few years ago revealed that raising a kid to age 18 costs a staggering $250,000, which is out of reach for many who struggle to make ends meet.
Overall, a society-wide shift of delaying marriage has translated into being single becoming the norm. Today, a majority of Americans are single, a stunning reversal from just one generation ago.
What remains to be seen is if millennials will just delay marriage, or completely eschew the institution of marriage all together. If millennials remain single for the better part of their lives, birth rates could continue dropping, creating a nightmare for economic growth and entitlement programs.
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