A few shocking stats:
1. % of married among people 18 or older: 2010: 51%/1972: 72%
2. # of marriages decline by 5% from 2009 to 2010.
3. Mean age of marriage 2010: Men: 29, Women 27/Baby boomers: Men: mid-20s, Women:early 20s
In a recent survey, 40% of people said they believe marriage is obsolete, including 31 percent of married people! Wow.
5% doesn’t seem like a lot but that translates to 100,000 less marriages a year which can be quite a bit, (2MM marriages a year) especially when you think about the economic impact.
The article argues that married couples also tend to have more spending power which helps the economy. But then again, a large part of the reason for delay in marriage is also women pursuing higher education and career, which presumably means that they will have more spending power as a financially independent women. So I don’t know if this is necessarily negative for the economy.
I’m also not sure socially how much impact this might have. Yeah, your kids are going to have older parents, or parents who are not married but from my personal experience, good parenting doesn’t depend on a marriage certificate.
I think at this point, marriage is perhaps a more of a psychological, feel-good celebration that you share with your close people, and more of a signaling effect for the couple themselves and those around them. What this allows is mentally gets the couple ready for a long-term commitment and cooperation—-which may or may not help with the stability of the relationship.
So all in all, I can’t really see how the drop in marriage really impacts the society in any significantly negative way.