Marriage may be getting a helping hand from an unlikely generation: millennials, who are reportedly causing the divorce rate to plummet by staying married.
According to Bloomberg, the latest data shows that Millennials and Generation X are not repeating the Baby Boomer mistakes of marrying, divorcing, and remarrying again. Many are actually “tying the knot at older ages when education, careers and finances are on track,” which has resulted in a drop in the divorce rate by 18% between 2008 and 2016.
University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen says his analysis shows something fundamental has shifted between the generations that could have a ripple effect in the future.
“The change among young people is particularly striking,” Susan Brown, a sociology professor at Bowling Green State University, said of Cohen’s results. “The characteristics of young married couples today signal a sustained decline [in divorce rates] in the coming years.”
The spike in divorce rates seen through the 90’s and early 2000’s was largely the fault of Baby Boomers. Divorce even doubled for people aged 55 to 64 — a phenomenon known as “grey divorce.” Fortunately, at least for now, Millennials who marry are not apt to repeat their parents’ mistakes.
“One of the reasons for the decline is that the married population is getting older and more highly educated,” Cohen said. “Marriage is more and more an achievement of status, rather than something that people do regardless of how they’re doing.”
Strikingly, poor and less educated Americans are avoiding marriage, with many opting instead to cohabitate in notably less stable relationships.
“Fewer divorces, therefore, aren’t only bad news for matrimonial lawyers but a sign of America’s widening chasm of inequality,” reports Bloomberg. “Marriage is becoming a more durable, but far more exclusive, institution.”