Why Millennials are Choosing to Delay Marriage

Gen Y or Millennials are people born between the years of 1981-1996. The oldest person in this age group is now 40 while the youngest is 25 years. Traditionally, this group of individuals should be married by now. However, to them, being parents trumps being married. Over the years, the decline in marriages and an increase in single-headed parent households are becoming a norm.

This trend is attributed to the fact that most millennials do not want to enter into marriage when not financially independent. They are choosing to delay marriage and focus on accumulating wealth. Millennials have had to struggle with the aftermath of the great recessions. According to insider, the recession caused a decline in jobs. Hence from the very beginning of their careers, they were met with a tough job market and wage stagnation. They had to work longer hours for fewer wages. They also had student loans and monthly bills to pay thus, making it harder to save or invest. Under those circumstances, marriage became a far-fetched idea.

Millennials’ challenges have been greater than those of earlier generations. In today’s world, those challenges continue. With Covid affecting the world economy, I think that some of them will put marriage on hold for good to focus on surviving. As a millennial, I would love to have children, yet I cannot do so when I am not financially independent. Therefore, I have decided to put both marriage and parenthood on hold.

Millennials are also afraid of divorce. In consequence, they take a longer time courting. Which results in getting married much later or not at all. Divorce is expensive. So why not have children and co-parent? According to Pew Research Center, the most important thing to millennials is being a good parent rather than a good spouse. This also attributes to the decline in marriages among millennials.

In its research, the University of Baltimore Law Review discovered that so far, only 26% of millennials are married and 25% are likely to never be married. This is a study done in the USA. I however believe that if we look at the trends around the globe, the same could be possible for millennials in Africa and other Continents. Millennials are said to be quite individualistic. In my country Kenya, most of them are single parents. They believe that there is no point in marriage if they can raise their children alone or through co-parenting. Everyone wants to be free to pursue their dreams on their terms.

The availability of no strings attached sex has also greatly contributed to the decline in marriages among millennials. Sex is said to be less costly than marriage. Millennials don’t view sex outside marriage as a big deal. They argue that as long as it’s consensual, and both are adults, it’s morally acceptable.

Nonetheless, delaying marriage does not suggest a denial of it. Gallup Poll noted that marriage is the desired milestone for most millennials. There are other reasons for this trend and different continents have different challenges, even so, the most common challenge is inadequate finances. I think that if millennials felt financially secure, marriage would not be such a distant idea after all.