Postponing marriage because of the economy?

The recession has changed many lives in expected and unexpected ways — from prematurely ending careers, to postponing retirement, to smaller things like going longer between dry-cleaning or hair-salon trips.

Now, new Census data says a long-term decline in marriage accelerated during the Great Recession, with more couples postponing marriage and often choosing to cohabit without tying the knot, the New York Times reports.

The nation crossed an important marital threshold in 2009, with the number of young adults who have never married surpassing — for the first time in more than a century — the number who were married, the NYT says.

“People are unsure about their job security, and a lot of people lost their jobs,” Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau, told the Times. “Getting married is obviously a big step and if you’re not comfortable about your future, it makes sense that you’d postpone a big decision like this.”

Will McElroy, 26, of Atlanta, has been dating his girlfriend, Ann, for three years, the NYT writes. They have discussed marriage, but he lost his job as a computer programmer this year and is now more focused on looking for work than planning for the future.

“Yeah, it definitely takes money to get married,” he said.

Among the total population 18 and older, the share of men and women who were married fell from 57 percent in 2000 to 52 percent in 2009 — the lowest percentage since the government began collecting data more than 100 years ago, the NYT reports. The share of adult women who were married fell below half, to 49.9 percent.

Has the economy affected your decision to tie the knot? How?

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13 comments Add your comment

Bubba

September 29th, 2010
6:58 am

Great excuse! I’d love to get married, honey, but the economy’s just too bad.

Nonia

September 29th, 2010
9:01 am

It would definitely affect my decision. Weddings from the start require money and marriage usually leads to the start of a family which again should require some consideration of the finances, education, career choice…..etc. The current state of the economy requires all Americans to think just not for the now but the “What If’s” of the future. What would happen if both husband and wife are laid off. Will the husband be the only bread winner while the wife stays home to raise the kid(s)? Does the husband and wife both have skills that can afford them the ability to be resilient should either or both lose their employment. These are the things that should be considered before saying “I Do”. It makes things so much easier to cope in the future, by taking and ounce of proactiveness upfront-

Still Looking

September 29th, 2010
10:30 am

Yes it has. I had planned to marry my lady by the end of the year, but it is not going to happen. I have been unemployed for 8 months, and my life is upside down. I can’t bring her and her children into the “uncertainty’ of my future. I am close to losing my home and my vehicle. There’s no way I could have imagined being in this position, but here I am. While my lady has been really supportive and understanding, it doesn’t make me feel any better. I can’t make her wait forever, yet I can’t bear to start a marriage in a less than desirable situation. I know I am not alone, but this is really tough. I keep telling her things will be better, but I am having trouble believing it myself. I would marry her tomorrow if I could just get back to “:stable”. Heck..I can’t even get her a ring right now.

Light

September 29th, 2010
12:16 pm

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Vern

September 29th, 2010
12:24 pm

Not only are people postponing marriage, many people are also postponing divorce too.

Divorces are expensive and selling the family homes and dividing property is very difficult in this recession. Many mortgage holders are upside in their mortgages and are unable or unwilling to sell at a loss.

Many couples are in a holding pattern right now and instead of moving on, they’re just moving down the hall to a spare bedroom.

Vern

September 29th, 2010
12:39 pm

One of the most interesting things about living in this current recession is that you can tell who really loves you when your’re down and out.

When you’re broke and you’re down to the lint in the bottom of your pocket and your “devoted other” sticks with you, it’s probably true love.

As my crazy grandmother, Maggie would say “it’s hard to love someone when they’re broke becaude they’re just not attractive at all.”

Most of us are aware, it’s hard to get some “romance without finance” in America.

TnGelding

September 30th, 2010
12:54 am

You live on love when you’re young newlyweds. Come on, two can live cheaper together. Just postpone having any children. Supporting each other through hard times will only strengthen the marriage. The future is bright once we get our troops home and get serious about conserving our precious resources.

Bubba

September 30th, 2010
9:30 am

‘Friends are hard to find when they discover that you’re down …’ Tom T. Hall, Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine.

JC

September 30th, 2010
9:37 am

“You live on love when you’re young newlyweds. Come on, two can live cheaper together.”

So true! The happiest times in my marriage were with no kids and being newlywed poor. My wife and I look forward to the day when we can return to being empty nesters and getting rid of our possessions.

That being said people are divorcing now, more than I thought I’d see. I guess the down economic times don’t always hold people together if they are in a bad marriage to begin with.

Co Hab

September 30th, 2010
10:04 am

We’re both 27 and have been together for 5 years. We own a house together, but have no plans to get married. Maybe in the future, but we feel like it’s just not right for us right now. We don’t plan on having children and are loving our life together the way it is. Economy is a factor (weddings are expensive), but it’s so many other things as well.

Lina Merchan

September 30th, 2010
10:32 am

To all that want to pledge their life to their love one.You are all in luck! http://www.wedathonforthechildren.com

During the nov 14 weekend in Atlanta, its going to be the 40-40-40 wedathon, each couple get a wedding ceremony and reception, all in 1 hour, for a $40 dollars for the bride and $40 dollars for the groom. You can have A whole ceremony for $80 dollars. The proceeds will benefit the Atlanta Children’s Shelter.

Here is how they describe it:
“You will experience what we call a “Super Wedding” – a FULL wedding ceremony officiated by an approved and experienced Georgia wedding officiate. This is NOT a Justice of the Peace wedding. Your ceremony will have you walking down the aisle while your husband – to – be, groomsman, and bridesmaids adoringly look on, should you choose to have them. You can even invite up to 60 guests to be there for your special day.”

ugadawg2005

September 30th, 2010
10:36 am

I think people are learning that marriage is often a bad financial decision. If I had not married my current wife 2 years ago, but continued to cohabitate with her, we would have several thousand more dollars. First, she would still qualify for the earned income tax credit. Second, we were hit by the marriage penalty with the home-buying tax credit. I purchased a home in my name only and I qualified as a first-time homebuyer. Because we were married, I could not claim the credit because she had owned a home in the last 5 years. In fact, she qualified for the move-up credit, but we could not get that either because I did not have an ownership interest in her old home. There are other ways in which are marriage has cost us money (such as in health care costs), but just those 2 things cost us about 12K in tax credits this year. We actually considered divorcing as it was financially a smart decision. However, we chose what we believed to be the ethical decision of staying married.

Michael

September 30th, 2010
10:37 am

What to do with the underwater mortgage is also killing the divorce business.