I probably write too much on here about “How Millennials Are Different From Baby Boomers And Other Generations,” (i.e. this post) and lo and behold, here-we-fucking-go-again.
Here’s a post from Pew Research on generational shifts. You need to start by understanding the generations as they define them, and what years those generations would be semi-entering adulthood (who ever really enters adulthood?):
Alright, so … we relatively clear on the four generations and their point of “Most People 18-33?” Cool. Let’s dive.
Let’s talk about marriage for a second. I think the “18-33 window” is probably a little tight for marriage; I myself got married at 32, so I’d barely be up in it. Still, if you look at most of America, I’d assume the majority of people tend to get married in that bucket of time; in the South, there’s a stereotype that it’s much younger. Stereotypes can often be limiting, but they arise because somewhere along the line, they were truths. I dunno. Maybe I’m misguided.
So let’s talk about marriage, then. 15 percent of people in the modern era may never get married, per stats. At the same time, norms about what we seek in a partner are changing — as are the ways we meet them. But now consider this graph, from Pew:
In 2014, about 28 percent of 18-33 year-olds are married. In 1963, when “Silents” were that age (my parents are both “Silents,” although they were married at the tail end of that range as well), 64 percent of them were married. That’s, uh, a 36-percent drop.
Now, if you look above, the number that research assigns to “may never get married” is 15 percent. That just means more people are getting married later than 18-33, as opposed to “never.” But when you get married later, that can mean kids later, house later, etc, etc — and that does have economic repercussions, which people have breathlessly analyzed for years.
Apparently Cameron Diaz (who I think is now married) has gone on record as saying marriage is a dying institution, so that’s something; this guy wrote a post for FOX News and said that 90 percent of married couples view their marriage as a top stressor in their lives, while only 10 percent view it as a source of strength. Interesting. I personally view it as a source of strength, although of course it can be stressful.
I wonder sometimes about the broader why of people getting married — like if you love someone and you’re committed to them, does it really matter if you throw a party, go to a church, and put a ring on it? Obviously I think it does, because if I felt really strongly the other way, I likely wouldn’t be married. But maybe the whole thing is just an evolving — as opposed to a dying — attitude.