It used to be first comes love then comes marriage then comes baby in a baby carriage in the United States. That order is changing with marriage coming later and babies arriving with their parents not wed.
During the Baby Boom years there were 35 million households in the United States. Today that number has swelled to 117 million but the Ozzie and Harriet type of family is not the norm.
A new Population Reference Bureau report has found that more young adults are living alone or cohabiting rather than walking down the aisle.
Before World War II 75 percent of households were married-couple families with almost 43 percent having children at home. Today married couples have fewer children.
"Married-couple families with children–once the predominant household structure—now are even outnumbered by one-person households," said Linda A. Jacobsen, vice president of Domestic Programs at PRB and co-author of the report stated in a press release. In 2010, only 20 percent of all households included married couples with children, down from a high of 44 percent in 1960. By contrast, people living alone now represent 27 percent of all households.
In just 12 years the percentage of young adults aged 25 to 34 being married changed from 55 percent to 46 percent.
Having children is not an issue for adults who live together rather than being married, both groups are as likely to have children younger than 18 living at home with a rate of 40 percent for each group.
In 2000 33 percent of births were to unmarried parents. That number has risen to 41 percent of births in 2010. The largest increase in nonmartial births were found with women in their 20s. In 2010 about 63 percent of births to women 20 to 24 were to unwed mothers.
The current trend is for young adults waiting longer to get married and more adults couples remaining childless.
"If current trends continue, more men and women will postpone marriage until their 30s, thus spending a smaller portion of their adult lives married," said Mark Mather, associate vice president of Domestic Programs at PRB and report co-author in a press release. "Compared to their mothers and grandmothers, more of today's 25-year-olds appear on track to remain unmarried through age 40."
Mather also believes that because of the trends of nonmarital births children are at risk of growing up poorer. Even for children in homes with cohabiting couples are at risk because these unions are not as stable as marriages.
Today's young adult may believe that marriage is obsolete, according to the study 39 percent of Americans feel that way. Studies in the past have found that 90 percent of women are married by the age of 40 but that could be changing. Time will tell if those at 25 who don't believe in marriage will change their minds.
There is good news when it comes to divorce, the rates are starting to decline. This number though does not take into account the fewer number of marriages taking place.
To read the full report visit this link.