Young Adults are Choosing Parenthood Over Marriage at Alarming Rates

Photo by Getty Images
“For many young adults, having children is one of the most meaningful parts of their lives. They’re not willing to go without it.”

First comes love; then comes the baby carriage before the marriage? It looks like millennials are rewriting the playbook when it comes to starting families.

A recent American Sociological Review study shows that young Americans are skipping marriage in favor of moving straight into parenthood. 

The study followed over 9,000 young men and women from 1997 to 2011, and by the end of the study, the subjects were now 26 to 31 years old and half of them reported that they had a least one child. Fifty-nine percent of those births were outside of marriage.

So why the increase of children before marriage?

Forget All Of the Fuss! Study Shows Simple First Dates Lead to Marriage Too

Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University who was a part of the research team believes that those persons who feel they are not marriage material are more likely to have a child out of wedlock.  

“For many young adults, having children is one of the most meaningful parts of their lives. They’re not willing to go without it,” Cherlin said. “They’d prefer to marry, but if they don’t see the prospects for a successful marriage, they will go ahead and have children anyway. If they wait too long, they might not have kids.”

The prospects of marriage for young adults with low paying wages may seem far-fetch, but having a child is more rewarding even if raising the child will come with some financial difficulty. According to Cherlin's findings over 80% of the sample of women who had children were without four-year college degrees and lived in areas with high income inequality.

A wedding is definitely cheaper than the financial weight of raising a child, and with marriage one can combine two incomes making it easy to raise a child.

Why do you think more young adults loosing interest in marriage and opting for parenthood?

WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.

Read More
Filed under: News