Most Young Americans Think Marriage Will Last Forever: Study

Despite overwhelming statistical evidence that suggests the contrary, 86% of Americans aged 18-29 who were surveyed by the Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults expect their marriage to last a lifetime.

By Josh D. Simon
Updated: October 06, 2014
Marriage and Divorce Study

Despite overwhelming statistical evidence that suggests the contrary, 86% of Americans aged 18-29 who were surveyed by the Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults expect their marriage to last a lifetime. 

"[Young people] grow up knowing that half of marriages end in divorce, yet nearly all of them expect to be in the half that doesn't," Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a psychology professor who led the Study, told the New York Daily News.

Jensen also noted that children of divorce are, somewhat unexpectedly, more driven to get and stay married than their counterparts.   

"Of today's emerging adults, the ones with divorced parents are often the ones who are most determined to avoid divorce, even though they are statistically most likely to get divorced themselves" noted Arnett.

The Study also found that nearly 60% of young Americans think that premarital sex is fine, but only if the couple are “emotionally involved” with each other. And nearly 75% believe that couples should tie the knot before starting a family.

Yet perhaps more insightful of all (the relentless optimism that most young Americans apparently have about the permanence of their marriage seems more a cause for concern than celebration), is the fact that both young men and women expect to sacrifice some of their career ambitions in order to achieve the family they desire.

"Traditionally, women have been far more likely to sacrifice career goals for family," added Arnett. "These new findings suggest that this may change in the new generation of emerging adults to a more equal sharing of family responsibilities."

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By Josh D. Simon| August 26, 2012

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