Unmarried Twenty-Somethings: The New-Normal Demographic

Unmarried Twenty-Somethings: The New-Normal Demographic

Men who won’t grow up. Extended adolescence. Adultolescence. Arrested development. There are many ways to describe the fact that it is taking young adults – especially men – longer to “launch” in life. Back in February, I was finishing the manuscript for You Lost Me. I came across the Wall Street Journal article Where Have All The Good Men Gone? Written by Kay Hymowitz. a Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, the piece underscores how the lives of young men and women have changed dramatically over the last 40 years, what she calls a “major demographic event.” The changes are startling:

  • Educated women. Women are now completing college at higher rates than men. About one-third of women age 25 to 34 have bachelor’s degrees, compared to roughly one-quarter of men. That’s much different than the college completion rates of previous generations.
  • Not married by 30. The percentage of twentysomethings who do not marry until 30 or older has roughly tripled in the last forty years. In the 1970s, more than four out of five Americans were married by age 30. Now, a majority of twentysomethings remains unmarried.
  • The global pause on marriage. The average age at first marriage is being delayed, among both men and women, going from the early twenties to late twenties. Americans are not alone; this trend cuts across many developed countries. Example: the average Danish resident does not marry until his mid-thirties (among men) or early thirties (among women).

Beyond the data, the social response to this WSJ article is astounding. It generated more than 125,000 Facebook “likes.” I think that shows people are searching for ways to understand and adapt to the “demographic event” that is replacing twentsomething marriages with urban, digital tribes of unmarried adults.

For faith and business leaders, this shift has major implications. It means that the “new normal” includes educated, capable young women. The “new normal” is also dominated by unmarried young adults. And it encompasses young men who are not as “launched” as we may expect. The challenge for churches, in particular, is that they are not as effective in working with unmarried adults as they are with conventional married-plus-kids families. Why is that?

The failure to launch is more than the plotline of a Matthew McConaughey movie. There are substantial demographic changes underway.

What do you think? How can we prepare our churches, communities and workplaces for the “new demographic normal?”

Source: Publishers Weekly.

Original source link HERE. Used by permission of the author.

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