Study Shows Lower Marriage Rate Tied to Economic Divide
Marriage More Likely for Higher Income People
In a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, researchers found a consistent trend over the last half century—fewer and fewer people choosing never to marry. In 1960, less than 10 percent of adults never married. Today, that percentage has doubled, and researchers believe that it may be at 25% by 2030. The study shows that many people are also waiting longer to get married.
The study seems to fly in the face of most current politics, which continually puts an emphasis on “family values.” But research indicates that the pull of children and a familial legacy is not what it used to be. Accordingly, policymakers are starting to factor in the likelihood that future generations will be less interested in many of today’s political and social programs.
A significant component of the increase in permanently single adults is the dramatic change in gender roles and opportunity. In the 1950s and early 1960s, there simply weren’t many opportunities for women outside the home, so security was often tied to marriage. Even though love was involved, marriage had a strong economic component. However, with increasing opportunities for women to have their own careers, or even to simply meet their own financial needs, the principal reasons for marriage have changed from economics to compatibility.
Researchers found that:
- Educated and/or affluent individuals tended to marry more
- Men are more likely to remain single—23% of men stay single their entire lives, only 17% of women
- Nearly 80% of unmarried women say that, should they choose to get married, the most important factor would be a mate with a steady job.
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