Study: Delayed Marriage Leading To More Births Out Of Wedlock, Depression

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Screen capture of "Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage In America," which is the National Marriage Project's report regarding the rising average at which people are settling down. (Credit: nationalmarriageproject.org)

Screen capture of “Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage In America,” which is the National Marriage Project’s report regarding the rising average at which people are settling down. (Credit: nationalmarriageproject.org)

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBSDC) – A recent study has found that the rising average age of people getting married has resulted in a parallel spike in the amount of children born out of wedlock.

A decrease in overall life satisfaction has also reportedly been observed in those who put off matrimony.

Researchers with the National Marriage Project, based at the University of Virginia, have found that 48 percent of all first births in families are happening outside the confines of marriage.

“[A] majority of young parents under 30 now have their first child before they marry,” a press release on the study stated.

The full study, which has been made available online by the National Marriage Project, noted that the cause for the shift is due to the rate at which the average marriage age is increasing – a phenomenon researchers associated with the study refer to as “The Great Crossover.”

“Although many men and women have been postponing marriage to their late twenties and beyond, they have not put off childbearing at the same pace,” the study notes. “In fact, for women as a whole, the median age at first birth (25.7) now falls before the median age at first marriage (26.5)”

Other effects of delayed marriage include a rise in the number of men and women in their 20’s drinking excessively and experiencing depression.

“Thirty-five percent of single men and cohabiting men report they are ‘highly satisfied’ with their life, compared to 52 percent of married men,” researchers reportedly observed as well. “Likewise, 33 percent of single women and 29 percent of cohabiting women are ‘highly satisfied,’ compared to 47 percent of married women.”

Some benefits have been observed due to the trend in waiting to marry, however.

The press release stated, “Delayed marriage in America has helped to bring the divorce rate down since 1980 and increased the economic fortunes of educated women, according to [the study].”

The National Marriage Project identifies itself as “a nonpartisan, nonsectarian, and interdisciplinary initiative … [whose] mission to provide research and analysis on the health of marriage in America, to analyze the social and cultural forces shaping contemporary marriage, and to identify strategies to increase marital quality and stability.”

The study was said to be conducted with the help of the RELATE Institute and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

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