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Proportion of OIds over 40 never married hits new record – MishTalk

A Pew report based on census data shows a growing willingness to forego marriage. What is happening?

Never Married images courtesy of PEW Report.

Fortune, Yahoo, Aleteia, The Hill and other media cited Pew. None of them offered any explanation. Neither does Pew.

But I will, and I think the reasons are clear.

The Pew Research Center reports a Record share of 40-year-olds in the US have never married.

Report the key points

  • As of 2021, 25% of 40-year-olds in the United States had never been married. That was a significant increase from 20 percent in 2010, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center.
  • In 1980, only 6% of 40-year-olds had never married.
  • A greater proportion of men than women had never married.
  • Blacks in their 40s were much more likely to have never married than Hispanics, whites, and Asians in their 40s.
  • The overall decline in the share of 40-year-olds who have married is particularly notable because the share of 40-year-olds who had completed at least one degree was much higher in 2021 than in 1980 (39% vs. 18 % ).

A search for answers

Five explanations of what’s going on?

  1. Change lifestyle priorities.
  2. Student debt disparity and overall debt.
  3. Inflation: Wages have not kept up with inflation.
  4. Education and Security
  5. Housing prices are very unaffordable.

#1: Change lifestyle priorities

There is flexibility. There are trips. Parenting is not available for many reasons, listed below.

Not only are children extremely expensive, but they take a long time. Traveling with kids is expensive and it’s also a hassle. Factor in the rising cost of daycare with a desire to travel more and see more places.

If you don’t want children but want a more flexible lifestyle, with more travel, why get married?

#2: Disparity of student debt and overall debt

Someone with no student debt is reluctant to marry someone with $80,000 in student debt.

Debt is generally a shared responsibility when you get married. Prenups don’t change that fact. If expenses are shared, and increasingly so, what happens when one person can afford to eat out and travel, but the other can’t?

The answer is no marriage.

#3: Wages haven’t kept up with inflation

BLS hourly earnings data, real earnings deflated by CPI. Mish chart.

Salary notes

  • The total private wage series only dates to March 2006.
  • Wage data or production and non-supervisory workers go back to 1964.
  • The deflator for all workers is the CPI-U (published normal CPI).
  • The deflator for production workers is the CPI-W.

Adjusted for inflation (a dollar bought much more in 1973 than it does today), wages have barely increased.

In real terms, earning $4.05 an hour in February 1973 would be worth almost as much as someone earning $28.26 today.

This is how inflation has destroyed the dollar. This also relates to the idea of ​​shared spending and thus also to attitudes.

Hull of the day

Please note the Minneapolis Fed President Says ‘Wage Growth Is Too High’ For Our Two Percent Inflation Target

Four statements from Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari

  • “Wage growth is at a level that is actually too high to be consistent with our 2 percent inflation target.”
  • “We would like to avoid a recession, but we know we have to reduce inflation. Lowering inflation is the first job.”
  • “We should bring wage growth closer to 3% to be consistent with our 2% inflation target.”
  • “I don’t know how it’s embedded [wage growth is] but it’s our job to make sure it doesn’t get incorporated.”

#4: Education and safety

Schools are a big problem. So is safety, especially in big cities.

Who wants to raise kids in a big city public school system? But if you don’t want children, why can you get married?

#5: Home prices are very unaffordable

“But I would think expensive housing would have the opposite effect. It would encourage marriage because you need two incomes to pay for it.”

I would not. This ties into the idea that millennials who don’t have student debt don’t want to be responsible for someone with $80,000 in student debt. Debt, debt gap and earnings gap are very important issues.

It’s very important when one person can barely afford a house or condo, but can’t because their significant other has too much debt.

For discussion, see The starting house no longer exists, even in second-tier markets

The Great Debate: Are Americans Better Off Today Than They Were in the 1980s?

All of the above discussion relates to The Great Debate: Are Americans Better Off Today Than They Were in the 1980s?

Are we better now? Two conservatives do it out. One says yes, the other no.

I commented: The answers probably depend on student debt, ability to buy a home, overall debt, and ability to raise a family.

If your goal is to start a family, this debate is not even closed.


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