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National Marriage Week: The Costs of Delaying Marriage
Posted By Sarah Torre On February 9, 2012 @ 10:30 am In Culture | Comments Disabled
Starting a career, paying off student loans, and buying a house are all momentous occasions on the journey to American adulthood. While many young men and women still achieve these milestones, tying the knot and settling down are events increasingly avoided on young Americans’ path toward maturity.
The increase in the average age  at first marriage and the steep drop in the national marriage rate  over the past four decades demonstrate the declining view of matrimony among 21st-century young people.
Americans are increasingly choosing the loose bonds of cohabitation to “test drive” a relationship, placing marriage as a tentative aspiration. Nearly 12 percent  of U.S. couples are currently in a cohabiting relationship. Unfortunately, the increasingly favored lifestyle of living together outside of marriage is not necessarily a recipe for happily ever after.
Cohabiting couples are much more prone to separation and less likely to reconcile  than married couples—even after the third year of living together. The relationship of cohabiting couples isn’t always enjoyable. According to studies on cohabitation, men and women who live together tend to report higher levels of depression, twice the rate of infidelity, and worse relationship quality  than married couples.
Choosing to delay the walk down the aisle or forego marriage entirely could be an expensive decision. Men who are in a cohabiting relationship tend to have lower annual incomes than their peers who tied the knot. In one study, cohabitating men earned over $8,000 less  per year than married men. The net worth of cohabiting households also tends to be significantly less  than that of married households.
Married adults also tend to report better overall health , with over two-thirds of surveyed married couples reporting “excellent” or “very good” health. Those in cohabiting relationships are more likely to be current, regular drinkers  and tend to have more problems with alcohol  when compared to their married peers.
Choosing a test-run version of matrimony is not only hindering young couples from enjoying the social and economic benefits of marriage ; it is also threatening the success of future generations.
The growing ambivalence toward marriage may leave even more children to experience the many social difficulties  of growing up outside a married home. Children who live in non-married households are more likely to experience poverty  than peers living in intact, married families. The same children are also more likely to exhibit behavioral problems  and have lower academic achievement .
With more than four out of 10  children now born outside of marriage, renewing a culture that aspires to marriage  is important not only for adults but also their children in need of a stable, married home.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/02/09/national-marriage-week-the-costs-of-delaying-marriage/
URLs in this post:
 increase in the average age: http://familyfacts.org/charts/102/men-and-women-are-marrying-later
 steep drop in the national marriage rate: http://familyfacts.org/charts/150/the-proportion-of-married-adults-has-decreased
 Nearly 12 percent: http://familyfacts.org/charts/110/nearly-12-percent-of-couples-living-together-are-unmarried
 much more prone to separation and less likely to reconcile: http://familyfacts.org/briefs/9/cohabitation-vs-marriage-how-loves-choices-shape-life-outcomes
 over $8,000 less: http://familyfacts.org/briefs/18/for-love-and-money-the-impact-of-marriage-and-economic-well-being
 net worth of cohabiting households also tends to be significantly less: http://familyfacts.org/briefs/31/family-structure-and-economic-well-being
 report better overall health: http://familyfacts.org/charts/410/married-adults-tend-to-report-better-health
 current, regular drinkers: http://familyfacts.org/charts/420/adult-alcohol-consumption-differs-by-marital-status
 social and economic benefits of marriage: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/02/08/national-marriage-week-it-pays-to-get-married-even-in-a-recession/
 social difficulties: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/06/Married-Fathers-Americas-Greatest-Weapon-Against-Child-Poverty
 exhibit behavioral problems: http://familyfacts.org/briefs/34/family-and-adolescent-well-being
 lower academic achievement: http://familyfacts.org/briefs/23/strong-beginnings-how-families-bolster-early-educational-outcomes
 four out of 10: http://familyfacts.org/charts/205/four-in-10-children-are-born-to-unwed-mothers
 culture that aspires to marriage: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/06/a-marshall-plan-for-marriage-rebuilding-our-shattered-homes
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