Marriage Rates At All Time Low

Jordan Ireland
Aug 2 · 3 min read

This year, marriage and divorce rates are at an all time low, could this be caused by millennials? The average marriage ages are also the highest that they have ever been. Let’s take a look at what’s going on?

More information and datasets that were used can be found on my website.

Marriage per state and year has been going down linearly since 90s

To find out, I did some research on how much student loan debt the average American has compared to the previous generation. Looking at the data of student debt , we can see that debt has increased by almost 400% with a giant spike between 2008 and 2009 of $2.5 billion as compare to the previous year of $7 million. This could be caused by the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008 which allowed an additional $2000 to the maximum annual unsubsidized loan that could be granted to undergraduate students.

Debt per year in millions of US dollars

But why have student loans gone up so much these past years? Looking at the data from my local university, Arizona State University, in 1998 tuition per year cost ~$3,300 adjusted. Fast forward 10 years in 2008, the annual tuition per year is more than $20,000. This corresponds with the increase in student debt and with the graph below, you can see how as one university starts raising their tuition, the national student debt increases almost perfectly with it.

In this graph, you can see how strong correlation seems, but I used a misleading scale to make it seem worse than it is.

This graph above shows how as student debt increases, so does annual tuition. Don’t be misled though, I purposefully made this graph this way to show how you can’t trust all charts.

The fact is that ASU tuition goes up the debt must also. Unfortunately, ASU tuition isn’t adjusted for inflation while the debt average is. This graph would be better as a bar chart or as separate graphs.

Scientists and the CDC have already notified the US population that at our current birth rate, younger students and young adults are not reproducing enough to keep up with the death rate. This is a big red flag. If the birth rate drops below the death rate, the population can decline and the economy with it. 1

The only solutions to this problem is either a massive overhaul in the way student debt is handled or how much college graduates are paid straight out of university.

Summary

While the correlation between student debt and average marriage age is very strong, the data was slightly limited to US country instead of per state. I can’t accept nor reject the theory that student debt directly affects marriage age.

Jordan Ireland

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