It is a difficult story to avoid in today’s news cycles: millennials are destroying everything in the world from peanut butter jelly time to doorbells to healthy relationships. How does one find fact in a sea of fiction? The easiest thing to do is assume most everything is fiction, because most everything is. But you may have read a recent collection of studies that suggest millennials are actually having a positive impact on divorce statistics.
Are millennials really not ripping apart the institution of marriage as often as their parents did? The answer is complicated (but also “yes”).
According to these studies, the reduced probability of divorce among the millennial generation has resulted in a whopping 24 percent overall decline in divorce rates going back to 1981. One of the highest criticisms older generations have lodged against the younger surrounds the hookup culture, but these numbers seem to suggest that millennials, while quicker to jump into bed, are slower (or less likely) to get hitched.
For other generations, marriage was the start of a new relationship on which partners would begin to build a life. These days things have changed. Now marriage is the result of a mature relationship. Many of these bonds were already secured with affection, sexual intercourse, cohabitation, and even kids, which is part of the reason why younger couples are marrying at an older age than their parents did. They only take this final step when they feel absolutely safe that the bond is lasting.
Another piece of the puzzle lies in how many fewer millennials are getting married at all. According to a publication from the University of Baltimore, a quarter of this bracket of the population won’t bother. Nearly a quarter of the same age bracket does not affiliate with any religion. Although most millennials appear to believe in god, it seems that fewer hold religion in as high esteem as their parents. Maybe this is why so many millennials are abandoning marriage, an institution so steeped in religious importance.
Millennials also realize we live in a changing world with perhaps a less secure economic future. Divorce can be a costly affair both emotionally and financially and most millennials will do anything to avoid making a dent in their pocketbook. Who can fault them for being diligent with their money? Financial situations are a big cause of divorce, which is why it might be smart to wait until partners feel secure in their livelihood as well.
This is probably the biggest driver of prenuptial agreements, which millennials are coincidentally signing more often than their parents.
There’s another interesting possibility why millennials might marry (and divorce) less often. Rates of marriage among couples whose religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds differ are on the rise, as are the number of wedding ceremonies a single couple will hold. This is done to accommodate everyone’s beliefs.
In the end, millennials are divorcing less often because they believe in personal security above all else.