Nearly half of Canadian young adults who intend to marry say proving their love and devotion will be the primary motivation for doing so, a new report from think tank Cardus found.
When it comes to tying the knot, 48.9 percent of Canadians aged 25 to 34 named “proof of love and commitment” as their top priority before saying “I do,” the report said.
Examining the data from Statistics Canada’s 2017 General Social Survey, the report also found that nearly 14 percent in this age group view marriage as the “next step/logical advancement” in life, and about 8 percent of them named “to have/adopt children” in their priority list.
The survey data suggests that these young adults generally view marriage as a positive aspect of family life.
But when it comes to whether marriage is necessary, the report referred to data collected by the Angus Reid Institute, which found 58 percent of those aged 25 to 34 “don’t think it is important for couples who want to spend the rest of their lives together to get married.”
The Cardus report noted that the trend of marriage has been declining over the past few decades. In 1970, married couples, with or without children, accounted for 91 percent of all “census families.” By 2016, this number dropped to 66 percent.
Peter Jon Mitchell, co-author of the report, argues that a healthy marriage can contribute to family stability, with related social and economic benefits for neighbourhoods and communities.
“Marriage is not for everyone, but the weight of academic research on the subject shows that marriage is associated with benefits for couples and their children, and for the wider society,” he said in a press release.
“Clearly there are big, cultural factors at work in why young Canadians choose not to marry.”
The report, titled “For Love or Money: Why Canadian Young Adults Marry … or Don’t” observed that mistrust in the institution of marriage is the number one reason why young people aged 25 to 34 resist getting hitched.
Nearly half the men in this group said they “don’t believe in the institution of marriage” while 39.1 percent of women said the same thing.
The data also suggests many young women don’t seem to be in a rush to settle down, as about 29 percent of women said their “current situation is fine,” while only 13.2 percent of men felt this way.
Men cited “wedding preparations and costs” as their second reason for staying unmarried, with higher emphasis than women at about 17 percent versus 10.5 percent. According to Mitchell, this is still a “distant second to disbelief in the institution of marriage” for men.
Besides economic consideration, the report said discussion of culturally informed values shouldn’t be ignored as they play a crucial role in marriage decisions, and that community groups are best suited to communicate the benefits of marriage to young adults.
“Community groups, religious organizations, and others interested in the relational health of young adults should reflect on the larger societal values about marriage and consider the values that their organizations are communicating intentionally or unintentionally to young adults,” the report said.
Mitchell said boosting awareness of the importance and benefits of marriage would be helpful to reverse the trend away from it.
“There’s an obvious need for increased availability of information about the benefits of healthy, stable marriage, which could inform young Canadians’ decisions about partnership,” he said.