Latest Trends In Marriage

Marriage is not for everyone—that’s what the latest Pew Research Center Survey tells us. The latest research was conducted among more than 2000 adults in late May. The results are interesting and demonstrate changing American values toward marriage.

never-married-01According to the study, 20% of adults age 25+ have never been married. Men (23%) are more likely to have never married than women (17%). This is dramatically more than 50 years ago with only 9% of unmarried age 25+ adults in 1960. These trends hold with all races, but are particularly pronounced with black and Hispanic respondents.

There are demographic and attitudinal reasons for these findings:

1. The median age for first marriage is now 28 compared to 22 in 1960
2. Almost 1/4 of 25-34 adults are living with a partner
3. Changing attitudes, difficult economic times and more children continuing to live with parents are all contributing to these trends

In fact, according to Pew, more people (50%) believe that “society is better off if people have priorities other than marriage and children” than believe that “Society is better off if people make marriage and having children a priority” (46%). This is a dramatic attitudinal shift, and shows the change from the “family first” mentality of yesteryear.

Are those who are not married just having problems finding a mate? Not really. While roughly half (53%) of unmarrieds say they’d like to get married in the future, almost as many (47%) say they are not sure or definitely don’t want to marry. So take that, wedding planners.

The implications for marketers are obvious and are part of an overall trend of greater segmentation. In the 60s and 70s it was easier to market to “normal households”–married couples with 2.5 children who largely lived in suburbia. There are no “normal households” any longer (perhaps there never really were—we just watched too much Donna Reed Show and Leave it to Beaver). Clearly one person households are also on the rise, and alternative lifestyles, unmarried couples, and new values make the need for segmented marketing paramount. Change is the status quo.

Want to understand more? Check out the Pew findings.

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