The 21st century is the age of living single. Among adults aging 18 and older, 65% are single in Japan, 62% in the US and 40% in Singapore. Indeed, this problem is not just happening in these 3 countries, it is happening all around the world. It is occurred in all types of countries, poor and rich. It is a global trend and it hurts. The impact of global growing single population negatively affects the future population, the economy as well as the value and role of marriage. Compared to 20 years ago, when marriage was still regarded as the most important institution of human society, the question is why today young generation refuse to get married. Here are some reasons that may explain this bachelor trend:
When it comes to marriage, it is no longer the matter of two human beings falling in love with each other. In fact, it is a long-term and complex process of acknowledgement, family building and child-bearing. Unfortunately, every single step in achieving a happily ever after family is expensive. To begin, regardless of the very initial yet important proposal step which may cost $6000 for an engagement ring, an US couple averagely spends about $33, 000 on their wedding. Then, skipping a few steps such as going on honeymoon, buying a new house, child-bearing is another indispensable part of this process. According to the Time, raising a child from an infant to the age of 18 will cost on average $245, 340 in total, including infant care, childcare, enrichment activities, education costs form preschool to university level and basic food and shopping. However, not every marriage has a happy ending. Though it may hurt, divorce cannot be overlooked. A legal divorce costs a couple $19, 600 on average. The aforementioned purchases are just surface spending needed to be considered when a couple intends to get married. Inevitably, it is costly. This, as a result, is one of reasons why young people refuse to get marriage. Why you have to spend an exorbitant amount on 2-people matter when instead spending it on your own interest?
Cohabitation – the state of living together in sexual relationship without marriage – is a new norm for couples. In a research conducted by Pew Research Center, around 18 million adults in the U. S were in cohabitating living in 2016, increasing by 29% compared to 2007. The reason making cohabitation more favorable than marriage for young couples is that much less commitment made. In order words, less money is spent and break up is much easier than the complex and costly divorce process. Moreover, as time goes on, the fact that people who do not support the idea of cohabiting may find themselves increasingly in the minority. Since relationship is now more fragile, cohabitation is regarded as an alternative to marriage.
Women in 21st century are financially independent. Men are no longer the only breadwinner in the family and women are no longer ones staying at home, doing housework and taking care of children. Today, women are fighting fiercely for gender equality. They have equal rights, roles in workforce and financial security. Work opportunities are more widespread and females are realizing that they are being exploited in the family. As for women, cost of marriage is high. Rather than being the stereotypical housewife with burden of housework and childbearing, women are becoming more socially active and leaving the stigma behind. Feminists are fulfilling other desires rather than tying themselves down to one man, instead they are getting more upper-class jobs. While women are becoming more and more ambitious for their own job prospects and positions in life, most of men still expect to have wives who can scarify their own career to take care of family. Therefore, when two inclinations are not the same, marriage is postponed.
“The time today’s young adults reach the age of 50, about one in four of them will have been single all their life”. A half-century ago, the state of not being married when reaching a specific age was considered humiliating and not a real adult. Yet, that is no longer the case. Marriage, one of the most sacred ceremony in the universe of human being, is not regarded as a key part of adulthood anymore. The reasons are many, varying from the high cost for married, new lifestyle of cohabitation to changes in gender roles and may growing more.
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