Wedding Bells Aren’t Ringing for Millennials

They’re Saying “I Don’t” to Marriage Now, Due to Finances, Employment, and Societal Changes

For decades, the $55 billion wedding industry banked on “young and in love” couples to fill its coffers. June brides historically provided the top revenues. However, Millennials have now turned that premise on its ear, leaving thousands of wedding planners, caterers, florists, and others scrambling for opportunities among other age groups.

Just 26 percent of Millennials are married today. Millennials aren’t against marriage; they just want to be financially secure and have better jobs before they tie the knot. Pew Research says that most unmarried Millennials (69%) say they would like to marry, but many, especially those with less income and education, are concerned about their lack of a solid economic foundation. Many young adults, particularly recent college graduates, are burdened with debt and under-employment. Economic hardships of young adults may be one reason that so many have been slow to marry. The Census Bureau notes that between 2009 and 2013, 30 percent of Millennials were living at home with their parents, and that more than 60 percent have never married.

Millennials comprise nearly half of the total population of 208,225 people in Brazos County, Texas. Conversely, Sumter County, Florida has the oldest median age of any US county; only ten percent of the population of 116,645 is Millennials. View the interactive map.

The Census Bureau also says that the median age for a first marriage is now the highest in modern history—29 for men and 27 for women. In contrast to the patterns of the past when adults in all socio-economic groups married at roughly the same rate, marriage today is more prevalent among those with higher incomes and more education.

Pew Research also notes that Millennials’ attitudes toward marriage have changed; only 30 percent of Millennials surveyed say that having a successful marriage is an important goal, while 44 percent think that marriage may be obsolete. However, authors Michael Hais and Morley Winograd (Millennial Momentum) believe that Millennials aren’t opposed to marriage, they’re just not ready now. Mr. Hais states, “For Millennials, marriage is not an either/or question—it will simply happen at a different pace.”

Over the years, societal attitudes have softened toward couples who live together and have children without being married. In the study Millennials in Adulthood, Pew Research also notes that “perhaps because of their delays in marrying, Millennials lead all generations in the share of out-of-wedlock births.

Similar to when the Baby Boomer cohort influenced life in the US, many believe that Millennials—estimated to be 80 million and counting—will impact US life, housing, education, consumer products, and attitudes for years to come. Authors Hais and Winograd say that when Millennials marry and settle down as families, they will “…start transforming US families in myriad ways—leading to more cohabitation, multigenerational households, and stay-at-home dads…”

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Where can you find Millennials in the US? Newly-released US data from Esri Demographics can help you find them. You can access the 2015 Updated Demographics data on ArcGIS Online through web maps, data enrichment, reports, and infographics and also through Esri Business Analyst products and apps such as Esri Community Analyst, Esri Maps for Office, ArcGIS Pro, and Explorer for ArcGIS.

To map Millennials, check out Esri’s Smart Mapping capability, currently available in ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS for Server, so you can make maps in ArcGIS quickly and easily. Novice or expert, with smart mapping, you can easily create visually stunning maps that can show your stories about Millennials and all of your other interesting stories.

Brent Roderick

About Brent Roderick

With more than 20 years’ experience in the marketing information industry, Brent Roderick is part of the Product Marketing group at Esri. In this capacity, she is responsible for marketing a variety of databases including Updated Demographics, Tapestry Segmentation, and other Esri business, consumer, and demographic data products.
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