Millennial Marriage Masters? Why the Divorce Rate Is Way Down

A millennial couple dancing in their apartment.

Millennials are always being blamed for something. And when we’re not being blamed, we’re compared to our predecessors, the baby boomers. You may have seen articles blaming millennials for ruining the napkin or cereal industry, but this time the millennials are fixing something—maybe. Is it possible millennials are doing the whole marriage thing better than our forebears? Most millennials grew up with baby boomer parents as their marriage example, but this young group is taking the lead and causing us to question: why aren’t many millennials getting divorced?

The Numbers

Divorce rates are decreasing by a rate of about 18% at the moment and are projected to decline even further. Although you may be shocked by this news, the numbers have been decreasing since 2008, according to a University of Maryland study. Back when baby boomer marriages were new, the divorce rate was steadily climbing. It’s possible that the combination of committing to marriage at a young age and a changing cultural world drove a wedge between baby boomer couples and led to an increase in divorce. Well, there’s a new generation in town, and we’re here to stay married.

The Why

A young couple on the floor of their apartment with boxes behind them.

So why aren’t millennials getting divorced and how do we maintain this good track record? University of Maryland Sociology Professor Philip Cohen did the analysis and came up with the numbers. He thinks a longer wait time could be the cause. Baby boomers may have felt the pressure to follow in their parents’ footsteps, getting hitched at a young age and not thinking through the consequences for long. Millennials are simply waiting longer than other generations to get married. This is likely for a variety of reasons, including career advancement, finances, or simply not being able to find “the one.”

There’s also the point Cohen brings up that less millennials are actually getting married in the first place. The ones that do tend to be the type who are more sure about their choice to commit. It’s possible baby boomers felt more societal pressure than millennials to get married, especially since it’s less of a taboo nowadays to cohabitate with a partner before tying the knot.

What Does it Mean?

A young married couple in white standing against the door of a building.

For you personally? It’s possible this decline in divorce rate means nothing to you. It doesn’t mean divorce has been eradicated altogether. If, however, you follow with the current trends and made good choices, there’s a better chance you’ll have a positive outcome (AKA, you’ll stay together forever).

On the darker side, it’s possible these statistics mean not so good things if you’re single and looking to get married. Part of the divorce drop has to do with less of us getting married at all. Could this mean less of a chance you’ll marry at all? It’s possible, as many millennials already see marriage as just a large expense for an unsure thing. And as more and more of the marrying kind match up, less and less potential partners are available.

Marriage is a beautiful thing and most who divorce wouldn’t describe it as a pleasant experience. Does this new information on dropping divorce rates guarantee you a successful life together with your “ride or die?” Not necessarily. It’s up to you and the compatibility of you and your partner, not numbers, to decide whether you’ll stay together. If you’re a millennial, just bask in your moment for now. Because depending on your view of divorce, we’re finally doing something right.

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