Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Expand chart
Data: CDC for age of mother at first birthshare of high schoolers who are virgins, and Census for share of never married adults and median age at first marriage; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Young people around the world are delaying marriage and children, and embracing a new life stage of singleness marked by budding careers, hip urban areas, adult roommates and dating.

Why it matters: The delay in achieving traditional markers of adulthood have contributed to falling fertility rates in many wealthy nations, raising concerns about the ultimate economic impact of a shrinking future generation.

Just a century ago, for most heterosexual Americans at least, "there was no such thing as an urban tribe, or living in a city and meeting people. You grew up, went to work and got married and had kids," Richard Florida, a University of Toronto urban theorist told Axios. "Now you can be a kid into your late 40s."

  • The biggest change in young adult life is that "many people are choosing to settle down after they have sort of every other piece of their life like in check," Betches cofounder Samantha Fishbein told Axios.
  • It's not just a trend in New York, Chicago and L.A. anymore — it's also in places like Nashville, Seattle, Pittsburgh and Denver, according to Florida.

It's even a global phenomenon. In Greece, Japan and Sweden the average age for women at childbirth has surpassed 30, up from around 27 in 1970, according to UN data. And the mean age at marriage has been steadily climbing in nations such as Germany, Canada and the Netherlands.

As young adults continue to wait longer to settle down, they tend to move and grow distant from the communities and institutions that traditionally led to relationships — creating a void technology has helped fill, Jessica Carbino, a sociologist at Bumble told Axios.

  • Almost one-third of new marriages between 2005 and 2012 began online, and money spent on the top 10 dating apps has almost tripled in just two years, according to App Annie data given to Axios.
  • In no rush and with almost endless potential mates, Millennials are quicker to sleep with prospective partners, but slower to commit, Helen Fisher, chief scientific advisor for Match.com told Axios. But "it's not reckless, it's caution."
What I think people want today is to get to know every single thing about a potential partner before they tie the knot.
— Helen Fisher

How we got here: The education and empowerment of women has been a key driver in extended adolescence.

  • "It's more socially acceptable that women don't have to marry until later, if at all," Stephanie Tong from Wayne State University told Axios.
  • Financial security is also a factor. "People really try to make a living first. You try to get more security, finish education. It takes longer and longer," Michael Herrmann, an economist and demographer at the U.N. Population Fund, told Axios in October.

What's next: Demographers worry about the potential economic impacts from the falling fertility rates — like delayed retirement, overburdened systems for elderly care and slowed economic growth. "We’re pushing a biological limit," Florida said.

Go deeper: Our special report on the future of dating

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The global future is looking dark and stormy

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

A new 20-year-forecast for the world: increasingly fragmented and turbulent.

The big picture: A major report put out this week by the National Intelligence Council reflects a present rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. How the next two decades will unfold depends largely on whether new technologies will ultimately unite us — or continue to divide us.

10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rep. Gaetz declares he's "not going anywhere" amid sex trafficking probe

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) doubled down Friday night, saying he's not "going anywhere," and vowing, "I have not yet begun to fight," amid a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations.

What he's saying: “I’m built for the battle, and I’m not going anywhere,” Gaetz, who denies the allegations, said during a Women for America First event at the Trump National Doral Miami resort.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!