retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

We’ve mentioned often on MNB about how demographic studies show that people are getting married later and having children later, shifts in behavior that inevitably will have an impact on their shopping and consumption habits. Businesses need to be prepared.

But the Los Angeles Times reports that there’s also another byproduct of this changed behavior:

“New data show younger couples are approaching relationships very differently from baby boomers, who married young, divorced, remarried and so on. Generation X and especially millennials are being pickier about who they marry, tying the knot at older ages when education, careers and finances are on track.” The result, the story says, “is a U.S. divorce rate that dropped 18% from 2008 to 2016.”

The studies factor in the fact that there are more older people than ever, and older people are less likely to get divorced; they also factor in the fact that the marriage rate also has declined, meaning that there are fewer married couples to break up.

No, it seems to be that because people are waiting longer to get married, it gives them a better shot of staying married. It is an achievement, not an inevitability. And that’s an Eye-Opener.

However, the story also notes that there is a demographic downside to this trend: “Many poorer and less educated Americans are opting not to get married at all. They’re living together, and often raising kids together, but deciding not to tie the knot. And studies have shown these cohabiting relationships are less stable than they used to be. Fewer divorces, therefore, aren’t only bad news for matrimonial lawyers but a sign of America’s widening chasm of inequality. Marriage is becoming a more durable, but far more exclusive, institution.”
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