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Are Millennials Evolving Past Marriage?

By Ashley Oglesby


We’ve heard all the rumors about Millennials – they hesitate to commit, they are self-indulged, constantly job hopping, live with their parents longer than any other generation and now they’re accused of being responsible for the decline of marriage and changing the way we define 21st century families.

In a survey conducted by Pew Research Center “The Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families,”  nearly 39 percent of survey respondents said that marriage had become obsolete as an institution in American life.

Data obtained by Pew from an analysis of the U.S. Census showed that only 51 percent of adults in the U.S. are currently married.

Over the last 50 years, the distinguished family structure of the mid-20th century consisted of a mom, dad and the kids but in recent years new arrangements have emerged, shrinking the percentage of married couples from 72 percent in 1960 to 52 percent by 2008.

This marriage decline is most apparent among Millennials where just 20 percent of adults age 18-29 are married, compared with 59 percent in 1960.

A recent Collegian survey aimed to discover why Millennials were turning down the idea of marriage found that young adults have varying attitudes towards the trends that are driving the family change.

One is the debate between the importance of a career or
a marriage.

“At 24 years old, I am too young and would like to be well into my career before settling down. Possibly at age 29-30. I’m too young to sacrifice the freedom I would lose if I got married,” said Robel Loul, Collegian survey participant.

GPC professor, Bettina Durant agreed that the establishment of marriage had changed. Durant said that she believes many women are choosing the pursuit of career goals before marriage and family goals.

Kelsi Eccles, University of Georgia student was amongst the many young women that Durant made reference to. Eccles said that her main focus is to establish herself before making a commitment to someone.

“I don’t think marriage has become obsolete, I have high school friends and college friends getting married at a young age,” said Eccles. “I just think the culture of America has changed so much so that women are more inclined to work in the office before working in the kitchen.”

The decision to get married or not is a private one, but some soon-to-be graduates insist that they have no intentions to walk down
the aisle.

Leah Butterfield, New York University student said that she does not want to get married.

“I do not see the necessity of marriage,” said Butterfield. “It is a public ritual of ‘proving’ your love to another person and to the public. If you feel the need to ‘prove it,’ you shouldn’t be getting married in the first place.” She added, “a business contract has no place with the fluid, unpredictable nature of love.”

Butterfield is not alone, in her beliefs but even so, there are many people who said that they would choose family and marriage over a career. Miller Johnson, Georgia State University student said, “I don’t think it’s idiotic but I think that it is definitely a challenge to choose your family over a job.  It’s all about what you want out of life.”

Johnson was 14 years-old when he said he knew he wanted to get married one day. He had spent numerous weekends with his dad, who had began to date other women after divorcing Johnson’s mother, but to Johnson his dad still appeared to be lonely.

“I could easily tell that most of them were gold-diggers,” said Johnson. “I wanted to get married and make sure that my wife was there for me and not my money.

Now 23, Johnson said that he would still like to get married but, “I don’t have a job that could afford more than one person.” Which is a problem that many experts have said Millennials have an issue with because of student loans and because Millennials are prone to switching majors and switching careers.

About Victoria Song

Business Major at GPC, Dunwoody.

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