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Single-life More Appealing for first 10 to 15 years of adulthood


“It pays to delay marriage until the late twenties and early thirties”

Single-life more appealing for first 10 to 15 years of adulthood

Impact: Young adults take longer to get married, age of first-time brides to accelerate towards 30 by 2020s

  • Ninety-one percent of young adults believe they must be completely financially independent to be ready for marriage 
  • Over 90 percent of them believe they should finish their education before taking the big step 
  • Fifty-one percent also believe that their career should be underway first 
  • In fact, almost half say that it is ?very important? to work full-time for a year or two prior to getting married 
  • 33 percent report they ought to be able to pay for their own wedding 
  • Just short of a quarter even believe they should have purchased a home before tying the knot

Source: “Ready or Not? Criteria for Marriage Readiness among Emerging Adults,” Journal of Adolescent Research 24 (May 2009)

In the economic space, the reality is that increased labor market prospects for single adults initially drive down importance of marriage prospects. Young adult Americans who push marriage back to their late twenties and early thirties have a much better chance of getting ahead in the labor market and of meeting their self-actualization goals.


Exhibit 2-1: Earnings and job security are enhanced with progressively higher educational attainment

Earnings and Employment Advantages 2013.png

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Equity Communications


Exhibit 2-2: It pays in the long-run to delay marriage while you get more education

Average earnings for men and women at median age of marriage.png

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Equity Communications

Exhibit 2-3: Women who delay marriage for more schooling eventually come out way ahead

Female Annual Personal Income USA.png

Source: U.S Bureau of Labor, Equity Communications

Women enjoy an annual income premium if they wait until 30 or later to marry. For college-educated women in their mid-thirties, this premium amounts to $18,152

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