The State of the Union: How Gen Z and Millennials View Marriage, According to Data

Sep 22, 2023
2 minutes to read

Marriage views among Gen Z and millennials are shifting, with data indicating that as people age, the notion of marriage loses its intensity.

Dr. Charles T. Hill, a psychologist, asserts that every generation grapples with societal expectations around marriage and personal identity. Many factors influence their choices, from pleasing parents to affirming personal desirability.

  • Norman B. Epstein, PhD, highlights two primary reasons: life stage differences and evolving social roles, especially for women. With more women in higher education and expanding career opportunities, many delay seeking life partners. Self-identity, including self-confidence, also plays a role in these evolving views.
  • A prominent influence on modern relationships is social media. While fostering connection, it also amplifies comparisons. Both Epstein and Hill caution against comparing real lives to curated moments online, leading to skewed perceptions of relationships and happiness.
  • The age-old debate about which is more fulfilling – being single or married – is subjective. Singles often enjoy more autonomy and fewer responsibilities, while marriage can offer psychological, legal, and financial benefits. But it’s worth noting that romantic commitment doesn’t always necessitate marriage. Many millennials and Gen Z individuals celebrate their relationships differently, with parties and ceremonies without the legalities of marriage.
  • Though marriage rates have declined, with the current US divorce rate at 35%, there’s a growing emphasis on longevity in marriage. Epstein attributes this to increased therapy utilization, making it more acceptable to seek help during marital troubles. Shared values, communication, and mutual support stand out as critical relationship elements.

Dr. Hill reiterates that marriage, at its core, is a multifaceted commitment – legal, social, and often religious. Despite evolving perceptions, the majority of Gen Z and millennials still view marriage positively and consider it an eventual life step.

Conclusively, while societal views on marriage are in flux, it remains an institution fulfilling many personal and societal needs. Whether or not individuals choose marriage, it’s essential that the decision aligns with their personal values and aspirations.

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