Increasingly, Minnesotans saying ‘I don’t’

Minnesota is about to reach the point where fewer than half of the state is married, the Star Tribune reports.

It has nothing to do with the institution of marriage, however. The state demographer says it’s due to economics and lifestyle. Age — more old people who’ve been widowed — also is a factor.

More women in the workforce also means delaying other things in favor of work.

“The aging of the population is playing a role,” Mark Mather, a demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, said, “but it’s really what’s happening at both ends of the age spectrum. Young adults with college degrees are delaying marriage but, once married, are staying married. Among those who don’t have degrees, we’re seeing big declines in both getting married and staying married: It’s a pretty big trend, this marriage gap.”

A University of Virginia researcher says “the pill” — birth control — allowed women to control when/if they became mothers and earn higher wages. The economic need for marriage was significantly diminished.

Not to worry, though, love is just fine.

“We’re seeing people innovate culturally in response to massive social changes, and some of those cultural innovations we should welcome,’ says Allison Pugh, a U.Va. sociology professor. “We should make the lives of young people easier and provide them with the support they need to be able to commit to each other for the long term, rather than have them invest all of their hopes in this institution that has not proven flexible enough to handle the demands of modern life. Maybe we’re asking too much of traditional forms of marriage to be able to absorb all these changes.”