Girls, remember when you were little and you used to dream of your wedding day? The big white gown, with the flowers and the shoes and the limos and your dad walking you down the aisle? I know I still dream of that day. I can’t speak for you boys, but I’m sure you’ve thought about whether the girl you’re currently dating will wind up being the woman you marry one day.
For the first time, we are seeing a generation that is not putting marriage as their top priority. Millennials for the most part don’t want to get married at young ages, and some don’t even want to get married at all. In 2010 a Pew Research survey found that while 70% of Millennials want to get married at some point 25% aren’t sure and 5% say they don’t want to get married ever.
A key factor for Millennials is the fact that their focus has shifted from the married with two kids and a white picket fence mindset to the get a degree and be able to provide for yourself and a potential family first mindset. According to the Pew Research Center Millennials go through phases in their lives: getting an education, finding a job, starting a career, starting a family and purchasing a home. Education and building up your career are two very important things for Millennials. For many of them these two things take priority over starting a family right away.
Millennials have set high goals for themselves education wise. About half of Millennials currently enrolled in high school, college or grad school want to go on to earn a graduate or professional school degree. About two-thirds of Millennials who are not currently in school say they want to go back one day. 19 percent have already graduated from college and 44 percent say the plan on graduating from college. Only 31 percent say they have no plans to graduate from college.
Many Millennials have found a way to balance work with going to school. About 24 percent of Millennials work and go to school. One in ten Millennials have a full time job and are enrolled in school and 14 percent work part time and go to school. The balancing act between work and school is a very delicate one, many Millennials don’t have time to do anything else.
Gender roles are changing for Millennials. While women in the Baby Boomer Generation typically relied on men to go out into the work force and provide for the family, Millennial women are just as, if not more, ambitious than Millennial men. The Millennial generation is the first in US history in which women are more likely than men to go on to college or professional school. With this new sense of ambition traditional child rearers come equipped with, it’s only natural for Millennials to pump the brakes on starting families.
While Millennials have chosen not to take the cherished traditional route of the generations that have preceded us, we have not lost sight of the traditional values. Most Millennials think having a good marriage is one of the most important things as well as having children and being good parents. These things haven’t been lost in translation. We may not take the approach that society has become so used to, but that doesn’t make it wrong or bad. Taking the time to get in a position to be able to have a family is just as important as actually having a family. And choosing not to have a family is okay too. Conventional isn’t the only way, and I think Millennials are doing a fantastic job proving that!
Kirstin Mohammed is a Featured Blogger for Mobilize.org’s The Millennial Report. From a young age, Mohammed has been concerned with poverty and world hunger. She also shows concern for many other issues brewing in the world. She believes in always being happy and flashing a smile.