Report Summary

One of the most important social developments of our time is the recent rise in age at first marriage, which now stands at 27 for women and 29 for men--a historic high. Delayed marriage in America has helped to bring the divorce rate down since 1980 and increased the economic fortunes of college-educated women, according to Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America, a new report from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and the RELATE Institute. But another important consequence of delayed marriage is that most Americans without college degrees now have their first child before they marry. By contrast, the vast majority of college-educated men and women still put childbearing after marriage. Knot Yet explores the causes and consequences of this revolution in family life, especially the ways that delayed marriage is connected to the welfare of twentysomethings, their children, and the nation as a whole.

READ MORE

The Latest

Mar

20

Brookings’ Event Recap: The Future of Marriage in the U.S.

by Barbara Ray

    If you missed today’s debate at the Brookings Institution, hosted by its Center on Children and Families, about the findings of the “Knot Yet” report, you missed a lively back and forth. I’ll try to recap it here.… More

Mar

19

Early Marriage and Life Satisfaction

by Barbara Ray

By now it’s no surprise that young adults are delaying marriage. Somewhere around 1980, the age of marriage started to creep up. Not surprisingly, that delay corresponded with increasing education levels of women and the declining opportunities for working-class men… More

Mar

18

Nuance Goes Missing in a World of Soundbites

by Kelleen Kaye

I’m a researcher.  I like data.  They can answer concrete questions like, what is the proportion of children born outside of marriage and how has that grown over time.  But sometimes even the way data are collected influences the stories… More

Mar

18

Is Cohabitation Hard on the Kids?

by Barbara Ray

One finding in particular seems to hit a nerve with readers, and that is that raising a child in a cohabiting relationship is harder on a child than raising him or her in a marriage. Before people start firing off… More

Mar

13

The Tipping Point When Marriage and Children Is No Longer a Package Deal

by Barbara Ray

Middle-American women are driving trends in delayed marriage but not kids. Something is happening. Somewhere around 2000, the country quietly underwent a profound shift: women, driven largely by “middle-American”* women, began putting the baby carriage before marriage. In fact, for… More