Number of Young Adults Marrying Declines in U.S.

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Number of Young Adults Marrying Declines in U.S.

It used to be "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage" in the United States. That order is changing, with marriage coming later and babies arriving with their parents not wed.

During the baby boom years, there were 35 million households in the United States. Today, that number has swelled to 117 million but the Ozzie-and-Harriet type of family is not the norm.

A new Population Reference Bureau report has found that more young adults are living alone or cohabiting rather than walking down the aisle.

"Married-couple families with children -- once the predominant household structure -- now are even outnumbered by one-person households," Linda A. Jacobsen, vice president of Domestic Programs at PRB and co-author of the report stated, said in a press release. In 2010, only 20 percent of all households included married couples with children, down from a high of 44 percent in 1960. By contrast, people living alone now represent 27 percent of all households.

In just 12 years, the percentage of young adults aged 25 to 34 being married changed from 55 percent to 46 percent.

Having children is not an issue for adults who live together rather than being married, both groups are as likely to have children younger than 18 living at home with a rate of 40 percent for each group.

In 2000, 33 percent of births were to unmarried parents. That number has risen to 41 percent of births in 2010. The largest increase in nonmartial births were found with women in their 20s. In 2010 about 63 percent of births to women 20 to 24 were to unwed mothers.

"If current trends continue, more men and women will postpone marriage until their 30s, thus spending a smaller portion of their adult lives married," Mark Mather, associate vice president of Domestic Programs at PRB and report co-author, said in a press release. "Compared to their mothers and grandmothers, more of today's 25-year-olds appear on track to remain unmarried through age 40."

Source: Digital Journal