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Marriage in the 21st Century

Posted: April 26, 2018

Through the raw data collected from the use of the Prepare-Enrich Assessment, Prepare-Enrich has examined marriage and relationship trends across different demographics. A recently completed analysis on marrying age and education has revealed …

  1. Marriage is occurring later in life …In our analysis of engaged couples completing the Prepare-Enrich Assessment, we see a trend towards couples marrying later in life.

    This trend appears more strongly among women, with the percentage of women marrying when they are between 18 – 25 years old decreasing by 10%, and the percentage of women marrying between the ages of 26 – 35 years old increasing by 9%.

    For men, the same trend holds (but to a lesser extent). There was a 4% decrease in 18 – 25 year-olds and an increase of 3% in 26 – 35 year-olds.

  2. … But with utterly different outcomes based on educationWhile the increase in median marrying age appears to remain consistent across education and economic class, two contrasting stories emerge when living arrangements and children are taken into account.

    College-educated young adults are delaying marriage, parenthood and, to a lesser degree, cohabitation. Among 28 – 34 year-olds with college-educated adults, 9% are “baby first,” 55% are “marriage first” and 36% are childless and unmarried.

    Contrast this with the same age group with less than a high school degree, two-thirds are “baby first” (having at least one child out-of-wedlock) and 18% are “marriage first,” with 15% childless and unmarried.

    More college-educated young adults are seeing marriage as a “capstone” of adulthood instead of the “cornerstone” it has been seen as in previous generations. In this paradigm, milestones like starting a career, paying off school loans and buying a house are seen as prerequisites of marriage, and marriage is generally seen as a prerequisite to having children.