Delayed Marriage: A Boon or a Bane? Education Needed, Author Says

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 20, 2007 | Go to article overview

Delayed Marriage: A Boon or a Bane? Education Needed, Author Says


Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In the 1960s and 1970s, most men were husbands by age 30 and most women were wives by age 25.

New census data show times have changed: These days, instead of 80 percent of men younger than 30 tying the knot with their sweethearts, only 64 percent do so.

The same is true for women: Instead of 80 percent becoming blushing brides by age 25, the number now is closer to 50 percent.

There is ongoing debate about whether this trend of "delayed marriage" is a problem or not - especially when so many twenty-somethings are getting college degrees, holding down jobs or exploring the world.

"We have to ask ourselves, honestly - does this trend disturb us? If so, why?" writes Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a research professor at Clark University and editor of the Journal of Adolescent Research.

"Nearly all of the emerging adults I've encountered in my work want to get married, eventually, and nearly all of them will," says Mr. Arnett, author of "Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road From the Late Teens Through the Twenties."

"By the time they turn 30, most of them grow weary of the instability of emerging adulthood and are ready to make more enduring commitments in love and work," he writes.

But sociology professor emeritus David Popenoe worries.

The vast majority of U.S. high-school seniors - 82 percent of girls and 70 percent of boys - say that "having a good marriage and family life" is "extremely important," Mr. Popenoe says in the 2007 "State of Our Unions" report from the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. …

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Delayed Marriage: A Boon or a Bane? Education Needed, Author Says
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