Many young adults are holding off on marriage, while maintaining a single-but-together status that can last for years. This may be one of the reasons the age of first marriages has been climbing steadily for all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. The average age is now the oldest since the . Census started keeping track in the 1890s: almost 26 for women and 28 for men. While it’s well documented that people who marry before the age of 20 are two to three times more likely to divorce, studies are still trying to determine whether marrying at a specific age can improve relationships and sustain marriages.
Public opinion about marriage echoes the declining prevalence of marriage. In a 2010 Pew Research Center survey, about four-in-ten Americans (39%) said they agree that marriage as an institution is becoming obsolete. Back in the 70s, only 28% agreed with that premise. 11 Younger generations are more likely than those ages 50 and older to hold the view that marriage is becoming obsolete. Some 44% of blacks say marriage is becoming obsolete, compared with 36% of whites. Adults with college degrees (27%) are much less likely than those with a high school diploma or less (45%) to agree that marriage is becoming obsolete.
UNFPA is committed to delivering concrete, evidence-based solutions to child marriage, with an emphasis on efforts that can be scaled-up and produce measurable results . UNFPA works with governments and civil society partners, at all levels, to promote and protect the human rights of girls, including assisting with the development of policies, programmes and legislation to address and curtail the practice of child marriage. Many of these efforts, such as the Action for Adolescent Girls programme and the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage , empower girls to know and exercise their human rights, including their right to choose, as adults, whom to marry.