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Millennials Don't Want to Get Married. And That's A-Okay

You may have heard all kinds of awful things about millennials — they’re lazy, can’t commit, and like to leech money off their parents.

Well now there’s another one to add to your arsenal: Millennials don’t particularly care about getting married or having babies.

According to a Pew poll reported by The Atlantic, members of the young generation are just fine with putting other things ahead of their decision to start a family, with a whopping 69% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 61% of 25- to 34-year-olds stating that they think the country won’t suffer if they choose to do other things with their 20s than settle down and make babies, as compared to 51% of 35- to 44-year-olds, 48% of 45- to 54-year-olds, 41% of 55- to 64-year-olds, and 32% of those ages 65 and older.

Of course, the language used in the poll may have had an impact on those numbers. The two main options given by Pew were: “Society is better off if people make marriage and having children a priority,” or “Society is just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children.”

Given the wording of the question, the responses shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone familiar with the focus on personal fulfillment that seems to drive millennials — which reflects not only in their work, but in their daily lives as well. Millennials tend to question traditional hierarchies and institutions, and have largely learned how to carve their own paths when it comes to finding the lifestyles that best suit their own needs. It’s only fitting that they would look beyond the traditional notion of “success” or “happiness” — ie. finding a secure job, settling down, starting a family, climbing the corporate ladder — as a means towards building new kinds of “success”-es and “happiness”-es. And millennials are by and large socially liberal, even if they don’t necessarily view themselves as being political, which means that most millennials are accepting of non-traditional family structures.

And no, it’s not the end of the world if 20-somethings are against getting married just now. Though many believe that marrying young was the norm and we’re now changing it, just the opposite is true — marrying young, research shows, was actually an exception that largely grew to popularity in the 50s. Before that, people used to wait until they were older to get hitched.

So the young’ns get to have their way and society won’t crumble? Imagine that. It’s like we’re living in a science fiction world or something.

[Pic via Flickr - Leland Francisco]

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