All of us know probably know at least one or two people who are 100 percent certain that marriage is a sham. When you ask them why that is, beyond some very interesting takes on the nature of monogamy, often they’ll just cite that half of all marriages end in divorce. But new data analysis by the University of Maryland shows that old adage may be outdated, as millennials are tanking the US divorce rate by getting married later which is allowing them to actually stay together.
While Baby Boomers were very prone to getting married early, then getting divorced, and married again, Generation X, and especially millennials, are being a lot more selective about when they get married. This is evidenced by the fact that they are getting married way later in life when things like their next paycheck and level of education are more solidified. This has been the case so much so, that the divorce rate has dropped 18 percent between 2008 and 2016.
What’s interesting is that when sociology professor Philip Cohen was compiling Census data to come to the conclusion about millennial marriages, he found that even when controlling for older folks who are less likely to divorce, the rate still dropped eight percent. Though he acknowledges that fewer people are getting married, he tallies the divorce rate by creating a ratio of divorces to married women.
Thus, he’s found that the marriages taking place now are actually lasting longer, even as Boomers continue to divorce almost three times as much, well into their 70s. People getting married between ages 18 and 25-years-old have steadily divorced at just above 10 percent since 1980. In that same time, older Americans have divorced even more. In 1980, people 55 and up were divorcing at well under 10 percent, but by 2016 it was almost 30 percent.
“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.”