Millennials get a bad reputation.
People say they’re lazy; they’re self-absorbed; they’ve given the middle finger to tradition. To points one and two, I tell those people: You’re wrong.
To the third:
What’s so wrong with bucking tradition?
A recent study conducted by Urban Institute found that young American adults today — that is to say, Millennials — will much less, or much later than any generation before them. If the trend continues, the data suggests that more than 30 percent of these thoughtful, innovative, tradition-bucking adults will remain married by the age of 40; that’s nearly twice the unmarried-at-40 share of their Generation X counterparts.
Why are Millennials getting married later, or not at all?
Because the landscape has changed dramatically in the decades since Gen Xers (and let’s not even talk about the Boomers) were of marrying age. To the twenty-, and thirty-somethings that make up the so-called Millennial generation, this isn’t shocking, or even all that surprising.
When the recession hit in 2007, the oldest Millennials were 27, while the youngest were graduating from high school, entering college, and staring down what many didn’t realize would affect them for years, maybe even decades to come. These young Americans lost jobs they’d only just gotten; stayed in school longer; took on mountains of student loan debt for degrees they hoped they’d be able to use… someday; and moved back home after college, because there was no other option.
Buy an expensive engagement ring?
Pay for an extravagant, expensive wedding?
Millennials weren’t about that life.
Millennials had to worry more about buying food, or making a car payment on time.
Today, the Millennials that once struggled have jobs, and in northern Virginia, those jobs pay well. But they’re still not getting married. The recession may be over, but remember, they (We, if I’m being sincere.) came of age during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and they didn’t just survive; they thrived.
Millennials are career-focused, and independent, because they’ve had to be. For years, the generations that came before: They pointed fingers, and made snide, derogatory comments, while young Americans everywhere worked quietly and diligently to change the world:
And change the world, they have.
Millennials are saying, “Marriage isn’t a prerequisite for happiness. Marriage isn’t a prerequisite for family. Maybe, someday, marriage will be for me. But that day is not today.”
And that’s okay.
But hey, Millennials: