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Study: Millennials 3 times less likely to marry than Silent Generation


Jurij Krupiak | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 03/01/23

Pew Research Center examines some of the biggest differences between Millennials and their grandparents.

A new survey from Pew Research Center is comparing the development of Millennials to that of the Silent Generation, when they were the same age that Millennials are now. Millennials were found to be more highly educated than their grandparents, but have fallen behind in marriage and military service. 

As a generation, Millennials have become very detached from major institutions, including political parties, religion, and military service. This departure from tradition can be seen clearly in marriage rates among Millennials, who are three times less likely than their Silent counterparts to have been married when they were the same age. 

Nearly six in 10 (57%) Millennials responded that they have never been married, in contrast to the prevalence of marriage found in members of the Silent Generation. In 1965, the average woman was 21 when she first was married, and the average man was 23. Just over 50 years later, in 2017, the average woman was first married at 27, while the average man waits until he is nearly 30 by the time he ties the knot. It is estimated that when the Silent Generation was the same age as Millennials are now, only 17% of them remained unmarried. 

The marriage rates are lower, but Millennials did express the desire to become married, with about two-thirds (65%) stating that they would like to be married eventually. While they have the desire, however, they also listed a variety of reasons that they have not yet found a spouse: 

“When asked the reasons they have not gotten married, 29% say they are not financially prepared, while 26% say they have not found someone who has the qualities they are looking for; an additional 26% say they are too young and not ready to settle down,” the report explained.

Marriage rates were significantly different between the two examined generations, but they were far from the only departures from tradition in Millennials.

Millennials were found to be 10 times less likely to be military veterans than their grandparents as well. Furthermore, Millennials have higher rates of education, with Millennial women being four times more likely than their Silent counterparts to have at least a bachelor’s degree, and the rate of women in the Millennial workforce was 30% higher than that of the Silent generation. 

See the full report at Pew Research Center. 

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