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article imageOp-Ed: Weaker role of men in economy is eroding marriage for millennials

By Calvin Wolf     Sep 24, 2014 in Lifestyle
A new poll suggests that up to 1/4 of Millennials will NEVER get married. Is this due to the decreasing role of men in the U.S. economy?
Most people understand that the Leave it to Beaver family of the 1950s no longer exists, if it ever did. White-collar Dad no longer brings home all the bacon while stay-at-home Mom does the chores in her high heels and pearls. But, according to TIME, Pew Research has discovered that the evolution of the American marriage may undergo even more drastic changes: Up to 1/4 of Millennials may never get married.
Not surprisingly, the big driver of this change is economics. The Millennial generation, saddled with declining real wages, tremendous student debt, and an increasingly unstable job market, lacks the financial resources to guarantee stable marriage. Marriage, intended to lead to a house and children, leads to tremendous expenses. As a Millennial who is two and a half years into marriage, I can personally attest to the expense of raising a young family. Many Millennials, knowing their careers will not provide for this lifestyle, may continually delay marriage.
Millennials may delay marriage until their careers appear able to provide for a "storybook" marriage, potentially resulting in never getting married. By the time Millennials earn enough to get the house and kids, they may feel too old to bother tying the knot. Many may think: "Why get married at 45 if we've already been together for 20 years?"
Even more powerful in eroding the Millennial drive to marry is the economic decline of the American male. The majority of Millennial women desire a man who has a stable job. Today, young men have worse job prospects and more meager income than ever before. With the rise of women in the work force, more and more women may no longer view marriage as the path to financial success. "Why get married if marriage does not improve my financial standing?"
Next, the Internet has changed the dating game for Millennials...and not for the more stable. Millennials, already leery of marriage due to their financial instability and the inability of the husband to provide the "storybook" marriage, may not feel the pressure to seek quasi-married long-term romantic relationships. With low-paying jobs not allowing for marriage to appear on the horizon, why not use the Internet to "play the field" and date more casually? The ability for both men and women to access many more prospective partners online likely reinforces the avoidance of marriage. Why lock yourself in to marriage when social media and dating sites allow for a constant array of partners?
Men, being economically insecure, may prefer dating casually, assisted by the Internet. Women, not seeking the economic security of men, will do the same. By the time economic security does roll around, perhaps near age 40, Millennial men and women may lack the motivation and "socio-dating skills" to easily shift from Internet-assisted casual dating to long-term relationships on the path to marriage.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about millenials, Marriage, Gender, Gender equality, Economics
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