Growing up with access to information at their fingertips, millennials are accustomed to an on-demand lifestyle defined by seamless shopping experiences, instant entertainment and 24×7 social networking. They are ambitious and career focused and understand that debt is a necessity for education and supporting their lifestyle choices but surprisingly, they place marriage and parenthood far above career and financial success.

Millennials (also known as Generation Y, Generation Me and Echo Boomers) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. Born between 1980 and 2000, millennials have a different set of moral values from their elders about sex, marriage and parenthood and even though a decreasing percentage of the adult population is married, and most millennials say they want to marry, cohabitation has become commonplace among younger adults.

In the US, children have fallen to eighth out of nine on a list of items that people associate with successful marriages — well behind “sharing household chores,” “good housing,” “adequate income,” “happy sexual relationship,” and “faithfulness.”

For many of them, marriage appears to represent an ideal albeit an elusive, unrealised one. Along these same lines, this US survey finds that low income adults are more likely than middle income or affluent adults to cite the ability to meet basic economic needs (in the form of adequate income and good housing) as a key to a successful marriage. Adults with lower socioeconomic status — reflected by either education or income levels — also are less likely than others to marry, perhaps in part because they can’t meet this economic bar.

The writers claim that it’s this decline in marriage that is at the heart of the sharp growth in nonmarital childbearing. This trend has not been primarily driven — as some popular wisdom has it — on an increase in births to teenage mothers. To the contrary, those rates have been falling for several decades. Rather the sharp increase in nonmarital births is being driven by the fact that an ever greater percentage of women in their 20s, 30s and older are delaying or forgoing marriage but having children.

Millenials are placing marriage and parenthood far above career and financial success but are increasingly delaying or forgoing marriage but having children.


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