Are Millennials Driving Down Divorce Rates?

By Michael DiFalco

Younger generations, like millennials, are sometimes looked upon by older generations as having little regard for traditional values and institutions. However, the institution of marriage appears to be one institution millennials are not casting off. Recent statistics show that millennials have one of the lowest divorce rates of all generations.

While available data clearly attests to millennials’ lower divorce rate, what is less clear is the reasons behind the data. Take a look at some of the possible explanations for the relationship between millennials and divorce.

Millennials and Divorce: What the Data Shows

Individuals born between the early 1980s and the mid-to-late 1990s are generally referred to as millennials. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), this age group has one of the lowest rates of divorce of any age group, with recent data showing a divorce rate of just over 10%. 

In contrast, the Generation X divorce rate is approximately 18% and over 25% for older generations. This trend is having an impact on the national divorce rate, too. 

Even while the WEF shows older generations divorcing at increasing rates, the millennials’ low divorce rate is helping to keep the national divorce rate in check. Between 2011 and 2021, the divorce rate declined from 9.7 divorces per 1,000 women to 6.9 per 1,000 women, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Numerous reasons could point to why millennials are not divorcing at as great a rate as older generations, such as:

Marrying Later in Life

Economic factors may play a role in millennial marriages due to when these marriages tend to take place. According to the Pew Research Center, the average age a person first gets married is 30 for millennial men and 28 for millennial women — much higher than previous generations. 

Millennials tend to put off getting married until after finishing college and having had a chance to establish themselves in their careers. This leads to increased stability and financial security in their marriages.

Delaying Parenthood

Not only are millennials waiting longer to get married, but they are also making other lifestyle choices different from other generations, such as having children later in life. Pew Research Center reported that in 2015, first-time mothers were at an average of 26.4 years of age when they delivered their child. 

This was a substantial increase from 1980 when the average age of first-time mothers was 22.7. Not only this, but numerous sources like Fortune have noted that millennials also have fewer children than past generations. 

Children can place considerable stress on a young family. Millennial women’s decision to delay having children and have fewer of them could make their marriages less stressful and more fulfilling. 

Avoiding Marriage Altogether

Millennials’ lower divorce rate may simply be a byproduct of millennials not marrying as often as previous generations. The Pew Research Center found that in 2019, only about 44% of millennials were married. Conversely, at a similar age:

  • 53% of Generation X were married
  • 61% of baby boomers were married
  • 81% of the silent generation was married

These numbers suggest a change in relationship perspectives. Those millennials who are marrying are doing so more deliberately than previous generations, which can lead to longevity in their marriages.

Almost Married

Anecdotally, many millennials are buying homes together, having children, pooling finances in some ways, and acting in ways that are similar to marriage, but without actually getting legally married. Sometimes engagements are delayed or canceled. Other times couples have children together before they commit to marriage. These myriad situations where parties are “almost” married are increasingly common and will require a different approach as different laws will apply while others will not be applicable to these situations.

Have Questions? Ask a New York Divorce Attorney

The relationship between millennials and divorce may be different than prior generations. However, some millennial marriages still end in divorce, albeit fewer of them than other generations, and anyone going through a divorce can see significant benefits from using the services of a Garden City divorce attorney from Aiello & DiFalco.

Our experienced team can protect your interests and work to resolve your divorce case as successfully as possible. No matter your age, contact Aiello & DiFalco today to schedule a consultation if you are facing a divorce in New York.

About the Author
I am a partner at Aiello & DiFalco LLP, and my priority for my clients is to guide them through an arduous court case to provide them with the opportunity to write the next chapter in their life. I tailor my approach to each client’s priorities and positions, and to the extent that matters can be predicted, I will always provide a realistic perspective of how the law could be applied to the particular facts and circumstances of a case. Since I thrive on helping people and solving problems, I bring an optimistic and positive approach to practicing in a very difficult area of law. With more than a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, I have the ability to get results on the issues my clients view as priorities. When cases or certain issues cannot be settled, I have a solid record of success at trials, hearings, and on appeals. Feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation, I am always available to help.