Millennials have been blamed for many cultural changes, from demanding more flexibility than the typical 9 to 5, to a decrease in face-to-face interactions, and even “killing” napkins and bars of soap. While the group of 22- to 37-year-olds have been getting a lot of negative press, they’re also responsible for a lot of positive changes. In the midst of things like positive ecological and societal improvements, millennials have recently been credited with lowering the rate of divorce.
From 2008 to 2016, the divorce rate in the United States dropped 18 percent. While this might initially be thought to be due to the older population being more reluctant to divorce, another survey analysis suggests that something else is at work. When controlling factors like age, the divorce rate over this time period still falls 8 percent.
So why is the divorce rate falling, and what do millennials have to do with it?
It turns out that there are two main factors at play. For one, fewer millennials are choosing to get married, when they are financially stable. Second, those that are deciding on tying the knot are doing so at a later point in life, when they’re more settled into their relationship.
University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen says, “One of the reasons for the decline is that the married population is getting older and more highly educated. Marriage is more and more an achievement of status, rather than something that people do regardless of how they’re doing.”
With the average cost of a wedding being upwards of $29,858, it can be easy to see why millennials are hesitant to get married while in a financially unstable place in their life.
Not only is the wedding itself expensive, but there are many expenses outside of the wedding that couples have to invest in. Take jewelry, for example. When it comes to engagement rings, 75% of brides receive an engagement ring that is made out of diamonds and gold. With the rule of thumb being to spend two months of your salary on an engagement ring, it isn’t a cheap purchase. On top of this, wedding bands must be purchased. With the most common precious metals being used for jewelry being alloys of silver and gold, you can expect to spend a pretty penny here as well. Outside of jewelry, there comes bachelor and bachelorette parties, as well as the honeymoon.
Then the most expensive part, the day of the wedding. You’ll have to pay for the venue, rentals, DJ, photographer, and catering, just to name a few. Going into catering alone, if you choose to have an open bar at your wedding, expect it to take up 20 to 25 percent of the overall catering bill. It’s easy to see how quickly these can all rack up.
The Affect on Housing
With millennials waiting to get married, there’s also an effect on the number of millennials buying homes. In a report on millennial home-buying trends, Bank of America said, “life events such as getting married or having children are typical triggers to buying a home. The longer this age group lives with parents or independently, the more homeownership will be delayed.”
Without being married or having a family, owning an entire home can be somewhat unattractive to certain millennials. The cost of owning a home can be a lot expensive than renting, especially depending on location. In New York, Suffolk County has a median home price of $415,000. That’s a big price tag for someone still struggling with student loan debt and tighter lending options.
A big factor in big life events for Millenials seems to be money. When comparing millionaire and non-milionaire Millennials, Business Insider puts it best. “Simply put, millennial millionaires are achieving traditional life milestones because they don’t need to wait and get their finances in order.”