Younger generation has more faith in marriage

comment   | print |

The younger generation values marriage more highly than their parent’s generation – including TV personality Oprah Winfrey – and they want to get married earlier than their parents would like. This revelation began with the release of a study by a research team at Brigham Young University titled:  “Sooner or later? The marital horizons of parents and their emerging adult children”.

Using academic speak, the researchers reported that parents supported “a higher desired age for marriage, lower importance of marriage as a life goal, and emphasised different criteria of marriage readiness than their emerging adult children”.

In other words, the 536 students who took part in their study, attached more importance to marriage than the 806 parents who were surveyed. The students also thought they should get married earlier. Specifically, the students said they would like to get married around the age of 25, while their parents’ generation said they should marry when they were older than 25. Lead author of the study, Dr Brian Willoughby, commented: 

The assumption has been that the younger generation wants to delay marriage and parents are hassling them about when they would get married,” We actually found the opposite, that the parental generation is showing the “slow down” mindset more than the young adults. 

Just as the findings of the study were being released, Washington Post journalist Janice D’Arcy noticed the conflicting views between the generations  being played out in a real-life drama on the Oprah Winfrey show. Winfrey was interviewing 18-year-old teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, who declared that he wanted to be married by the age of 25!

Oprah responded with disapproval: “Rethink that, will ya?” she retorted, expressing the jaded view of her ageing peers.

If the younger generation’s view prevails it could have a big impact on the age at which young Americans marry. At present the median age for first marriages is 27. More importantly, though, it is encouraging to find that young people have more confidence in the institution than their parents. Perhaps that will translate into less marriage breakdowns in the future. 


MORE ON THESE TOPICS | Gen Y, marriage, parents

This article is published by William West and under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

comments powered by Disqus

Family Edge looks at news and trends affecting the family in the light of human dignity. Our focus is the inspiring, creative, humorous, annoying, ridiculous, and dangerous ideas in the evening news. Send tips and brainwaves to the editor, Tamara Rajakariar, at tamara.rajakariar@

rss FamilyEdge RSS feed

Follow MercatorNet
subscribe to newsletter
Sections and Blogs
Family Edge
Sheila Reports
Reading Matters
Demography Is Destiny
Conniptions (the editorial)
contact us
our ideals
our People
Mercator who?
partner sites
audited accounts
advice for writers
New Media Foundation
Suite 12A, Level 2
5 George Street
North Strathfield NSW 2137
+61 2 8005 8605
skype: mercatornet
© New Media Foundation 2016 | powered by Encyclomedia | designed by Elleston