The divorce rate in the U.S. is down a whopping 18 percent from 2008 to 2016, reports new data from University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen, and it’s looking like millennials may take the credit. (Yay for the recognition we so desperately seek, right?)
Cohen’s analysis suggests that younger couples—Generation X and especially millennials—are waiting longer to walk down the aisle, and consequently, making more informed choices in their life partners.
“One of the reasons for the decline is that the married population is getting older and more highly educated,” Cohen told Bloomberg. Not to mention that extra time as a singleton allows them to focus on positioning their education status, careers, and financial situation in a better place than that of their 22-year-old selves surviving on Cup O’ Noodles and granola bars. Ideally, this causes them to unload less stress on their partners when they marry and begin to share preexisting personal problems in those categories.
Interesting to note, however, is that the number of people getting married in general is also decreasing. More couples have found contentment just living together—maybe even raising a few kids—but not making anything official on paper.
“Marriage is more and more an achievement of status,” Cohen explains, “rather than something that people do regardless of how they’re doing.”
And while baby boomers have continued to divorce at unusually high rates, all the way into their 60s and 70s, according to Bowling Green’s National Center for Family and Marriage Research, the overall plummet is still expected to continue.
“The change among young people is particularly striking,” Susan Brown, a sociology professor at Bowling Green State University also told Bloomberg. “The characteristics of young married couples today signal a sustained decline [in divorce rates] in the coming years.”
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