MyFoxDC.com reports that the number of adults who have never been married has jumped sharply since 1960. In 1960 only one in ten adults over the age of 25 had not been married. In 2012 one in five adults over the age of 25 have not been married.
They point out there is not a formal consensus about the cause, and I am sure there is not a silver bullet cause.
The economy and high unemployment rate among young adults certainly is a factor. As a culture we have also seen adolescence extended which would impact the prevailing attitudes about marriage and commitment among young adults.
With Millennials experiencing parental divorce more than probably any generation prior would make an impact as well.
There are a number of reasons why young adults will delay marriage.
The redefining of marriage has played a role. I can’t (and won’t) blame it entirely on that, but I think it’s disingenuous of same-sex marriage advocates to deny it as a factor outright. Stanley Kurtz made that argument ten years ago looking at Scandinavia. While I doubt same-sex marriage was entirely to blame for the drop in the marriage rate there (a progressive tax rate, economy were likely factors as well). It is certainly a trend that shouldn’t be ignored.
As the United States looks more and more like Europe with our domestic policies it stands to reason that we would look more like Europe in other areas as well.
I think it is safe to say that attitudes about marriage have changed and the marriage rate does reflect that. There is plenty of blame to go around.
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