Future of Marriage

December 1, 2017 • Volume 27, Issue 42
Are traditional unions becoming obsolete?
By Jane Fullerton Lemons


Andrew Schwaab, a pitcher for the Tampa Yankees (Cover: AP Photo/Four Seam Images/Mike Janes)
Andrew Schwaab, a pitcher for the Tampa Yankees minor league baseball team, proposes to his stunned girlfriend, Lauren Stoeckle, before a game in Lakeland, Fla., on June 17, 2017. Marriage rates in the United States have fallen nearly 30 percent since 1990, especially among people in their 20s to mid-30s, known as Millennials. (Cover: AP Photo/Four Seam Images/Mike Janes)

Americans, especially young adults, are less likely than ever to see marriage as essential for a happy, fulfilled life. Women's increasing economic and social independence and the country's growing tolerance for nontraditional lifestyles have led many young people to rank matrimony behind such goals as an advanced degree or better job. Most Millennials say they see a wedding in their future, but a significant share of that generation views marriage as an outdated institution out of step with the demands and opportunities of contemporary culture. At the same time, many couples are remaining single or cohabitating because of high debt, job instability and other financial challenges. That has made marriage increasingly the province of the wealthy and well-educated, leading some experts to argue that the government should do more to help boost marriage rates. Meanwhile, online dating sites and mobile apps are growing in popularity, inspiring new research on the permanence of marriages made in cyberspace.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Marriage, Divorce, and Single Parents
Dec. 01, 2017  Future of Marriage
May 07, 2004  Future of Marriage
Jan. 19, 2001  Children and Divorce
Jun. 02, 2000  Fatherhood Movement
May 10, 1996  Marriage and Divorce
Jan. 13, 1995  Child Custody and Support
Jun. 07, 1991  Children and Divorce
Oct. 26, 1990  Child Support: Payments, Progress and Problems
Jul. 06, 1990  Are Americans Still in Love with Marriage?
Feb. 03, 1989  Joint Custody: Is it Good for the Children?
Mar. 12, 1982  Trends in Child Custody and Support
Jun. 03, 1977  The Changing American Family
Sep. 10, 1976  Single-Parent Families
Jan. 25, 1974  Child Support
Oct. 10, 1973  No-Fault Divorce
Oct. 06, 1971  Marriage: Changing Institution
Nov. 27, 1963  Divorce Law Reform
May 24, 1961  Mixed Marriage
Apr. 20, 1959  Rise in Illegitimacy
Feb. 02, 1949  Marriage and Divorce
Employee Benefits
General Social Trends
Marriage and Divorce
Students and Social Life