Millennials were in the news again this week, this time for their apparent lack of commitment.
While delayed marriage has been accounted for as a worldwide trend in recent years, it seems to be taking a higher toll on Gen Y for a number of reasons, most of them being related to financial challenges stemming from student loans.
A report issued earlier this year by American research-based global consulting company Gallup Analytics titled “Millennials Want to Work and Live” revealed that 59 percent of millennials are single and have never been married.
According to the U.S. Census, only 20 percent of millennials currently aged 18 to 30 have tied the knot, compared to nearly 60 percent of the same age cohort in 1962. And while many social, cultural and financial factors come into play here, it has become apparent that millennials no longer view marriage as the foundational component of adult life and some of them have even come to consider it an obstacle to their professional advancement and success.
“Millennials are clearly delaying marriage longer than any generation before them, in spite of evidence suggesting that many millennials intend to marry at some point,” the Gallup report reads.
For one thing, this means Gen Y is not putting off marriage indefinitely but rather postponing the walk to the altar as another poll conducted by the research company in 2013 suggests that a large majority of single/unmarried millennials, 86 percent to be exact, indicated they wanted to get married someday.
Going back to the financial side of the issue, 43 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by the American Student Assistance (ASA) stated that accumulating student loans have impacted their decision to delay starting a family, which implies a clear correlation between college debt and the general tendency towards delayed marriage.
However, one cannot confine the entire phenomenon to just one financial variable given that late marriages are becoming more frequent across all age groups and are sometimes linked to much less obvious variables including urbanization, consumerism and shifting gender expectations in today’s world.
To sum it up, millennials’ reluctance to marry early is a complex trend that can be viewed and analyzed from a variety of angles yet serves as a staple of our current times that has the potential to impact the socio-cultural and economic structures of modern societies in the coming years.