The month of February has come to a close and we have celebrated Valentine’s Day, Black History and President’s Day. With only 28 days in the month it seems like February just arrived and now it’s almost over. This has been a wonderful month and I am thankful that because of the warmer weather we have experienced, parts of this month were more like spring than winter. I will ignore the cold spell we just had after having temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s. The trees, plants and the insects were confused and so were us as humans. I can’t tell you how many stories I heard about how cold it used to be in February back in the day and how we were always guaranteed to get some significant snow late in the month. I guess times have changed.
Speaking of change, I ran across an article written by the Barna group entitled: The Trends Redefining Romance Today. The article discussed the changing dynamics of marriage and singleness, the trends toward premarital cohabitation, and the impact of online dating and the possibilities of finding love at work. What I want to focus on is the increase of single or never married people. According to the research the percentage of single people or those who have never married has increased from 27% in the year 2000 to 30% in 2016. When you think about it only being a 3% difference that doesn’t seem like very much so what is all the hoopla about?
When you group everyone together meaning all adults, the difference between the number of never married adults between the years 2000 and 2016 is not much to write home about. However, when you separate the groups by age what you will find is that the change is primarily in young adults between the ages of 25—29 and adults aged 30-39. For the 25-29 their numbers went from 50% to 59% who are never married and for those in the 30-39 group they went from 24% to 34%.
When I looked at the numbers I couldn’t help but think about my own children. A few years ago before any of our children got married, I considered it strange that many of them were approaching their 30’s and did not seem interested in getting married. I remember finishing college and being in graduate school and thinking my next step in life would be to get married. Many of my friends and relatives who were close in age were also getting married. I was starting to collect bridesmaid dresses and going to several weddings. Many of my conversations with my girlfriends in our twenties was about finding someone and getting married.
The age for first marriages has been trending upward and we are well aware that young adults are waiting longer to get married. According to the data given by the Barna group the average age of first marriage in the United States was 23 for women and 26 for men back in 1990. Now the average age of first marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men. Let’s go back to the 60’s when 72% of all adults ages 18 and older were married. Now only 52% are married.
When I look at my own family, my grandparents got married when they were 20 years old, my parents married before they were 22 years old and I got married when I was 24 years old. The timeline keeps moving up every generation and we are seeing more individuals in our family who are waiting longer to get married. We did have three weddings in the last 2-3 years but everyone married at a much later age than we did. Two of our children have even bragged about not ever wanting to get married. I guess times have changed! What trends are you seeing in your family?
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach