Pathways to Adulthood and Marriage: Teenagers’ Attitudes, Expectations, and Relationship Patterns. Executive Summary.. Conclusion


We find that most teens have positive views of marriage and most expect to marry some day. In addition, a growing proportion of teens indicate that they approve of cohabitation before marriage and would prefer to marry later in life. Consistent with these trends, when we track a recent cohort of teens into early adulthood, we find that relatively few of them are married in their early 20s and that cohabitation is more common than marriage for this age group. These patterns will undoubtedly change as this cohort progresses through adulthood and more of them enter serious romantic relationships and marriage. Future research could examine how the long-term marriage and relationship patterns of today’s young adults will differ from previous generations, as well as how attitudes, expectations, and circumstances during adolescence influence relationship patterns in adulthood.

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