But dig deeper into the numbers and they reveal a hidden divide: Affluent, college-educated Americans are increasingly delaying marriage until their 30s. But they aren’t abandoning marriage altogether; in fact, they appear likely to get married at close to the same rate as past generations. They rarely have children outside of marriage, and they are relatively unlikely to get divorced.
For poorer and less-educated Americans, the story is different. They, too, are getting married later, but many also aren’t getting married at all. They are more likely to have children outside of marriage, are more likely to say they don’t plan to marry, and, when they do marry, are more likely to get divorced.
The marriage divide mirrors other trends in the economy, particularly the stagnation of incomes and the disappearance of jobs for those without a college degree. The trends may be related: For men especially, marriage and employment tend to go hand in hand.