“I Don’t!”: Job Insecurity Main Culprit Behind Decline In Marriages

August 15, 2013  |  


Last week, MN wrote about guests declining marriage invites because attending weddings are too expensive. But now, let’s talk about the flip side: wedding extravaganzas are in decline because working class Americans simply do not have enough financial security, according to Health Day.

The latest findings show that the marriage rate has shrunk to 6.8 per 1,000 weddings. In 2000, the rate 8.2 and in 1970, it was 10.6. Currently, the average age that women are gettin married is 27 — the highest it has ever been. This coincides with a new study that discovers that women with college degrees are more likely to be married than women with high school diplomas; “a stark reversal from years ago,” Health Day added.

Working-class men and women claimed that job insecurity was the main culprit that is hindering their walk down the aisle; a lack of resources and low wages makes the prospect of marriage unnerving. “[T]hey had a hard time imagining being able to provide for someone else—financially or emotionally,” said Sarah Corse, a researcher involved in the study.

The working class are too concerned about the present — such as figuring out how to get a hold of sufficient funds — to plan for future. According to research from UCLA, low-income Americans want to get married just as much as their higher-income counterparts.  But they have a better grasp of the values needed to sustain a happy marriage compared to higher-earning classes. “Poor people were more focused on the role of a good job, and an adequate income, and having some savings as the important factors in having a successful marriage,” Forbes added.

“If you can’t handle your own problems,” Corse said, “how can you take on someone else’s? Marriage just doesn’t look very appealing.” As a result, young working class adults often opt for short-term relationships — such as co-habitation — rather than pursuing a long-term marriage.

Working-class men and women are waiting to move up on the social and economic ladder before they jump the broom, adds Andrew Cherlin, a marriage and family professor at John Hopkins University. Pretty rational, don’t you think? The biggest predictor of divorce is a married couple being unable to make ends meet.

“A good marriage is unrealistic given the economic stresses haunting blue-collar America and especially low-income black communities,” Forbes said. “The simple fact behind the decline of marriage in the US is economic pragmatism.”


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