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Brief Published: 18 Oct 2018

Millennial Marriages are Slowing the US Divorce Rate


Owing to longer premarital co-habitation, and getting married later in life, millennials are causing the US divorce rate to drop.

In an analysis of US census data, Professor Philip Cohen of the University of Maryland discovered that the country's divorce rate dropped 18% between 2008 and 2016. When variables such as age and marriage rates were factored into Cohen's analysis, the divorce rate was still 8% lower in 2016 than it had been eight years earlier. The census also reveals that divorce in the boomer demographic (aged 54 to 72), had almost doubled between 1990 and 2015 (Pew, 2017). These findings led Professor Cohen to argue that divorce rates are set to decline in coming years, owing in large to the millennial demographic's approach to marriage.

Millennials are getting married later: in 1990, the median age for a first marriage was 26.1 years for men and 23.9 for women. In 2017, it had risen to 29.5 for men and 27.4 for women (US Census Bureau, 2017). In Norway, the average age of marriage - 39 for men and 38 for women - is seven years later than the average age of becoming a parent. This indicates that couples are living together for much longer before marriage than previous generations - and in some cases, starting families prior to marriage.

As relationship structures and timelines shift, we expect to see new forms of celebration and milestones emerge among consumers. Brands should look to help couples forge their own traditions and rituals. The New Family Network, from our latest Macro Trend The Kinship Economy, highlights the brands providing such services.