AirTalk for March 20, 2013

Who are the winners and losers of delayed marriage?

Group Wedding Held On Valentine's Day In West Palm Beach, Florida

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A recent report from the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project shows delaying marriage is a rising trend, but are there positive and negative consequences?

A recent report from the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project has both good news and bad news. The study showed delayed marriage as a rising trend across all economic classes. The good news? College-educated folk, especially women, are reaping the financial benefits. The bad news? They seem to be the only ones. Twentysomethings with less education are on board with delaying marriage, but they’re not necessarily delaying childbearing, according to the report, titled “Knot Yet.”

On average, women in this group have their first child two years before marriage – that’s compared to their college-educated peers, who typically wait two years after marriage. Reversing marriage and the baby carriage is a trend on the rise for the middle class and a serious problem, according to the researchers behind the study. Drifting into parenthood before marriage has been shown to result in less emotional and financial stability for the child – one that could create a vicious cycle entrapping the next generation in economic immobility.

Could we be headed towards an even more stark divide between the haves and have-nots because of this marriage trend? Is a culture shift or a poor economy to blame for having children before marriage? Why is marriage rather than intentional relationships the recommended prerequisite for children?

Kelleen Kaye, Co-author of the study “Knot Yet” and Senior Director of Research at The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

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