By Tim Werth
It’s no surprise: we’ve heard for years that Millennials are getting married later and exploring their sexuality in entirely new ways. As such, a new study by Vanderbilt University has highlighted the health benefits following the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015.
Gay marriage and its effect on health
This legalization helped lead to improvements in health insurance for same-sex couples across the nation. Though people in same-sex households are still not as likely to have health insurance as their heterosexual counterparts, the increased availability of health care for same-sex spouses has improved the general health of gay men specifically.
It’s estimated that same-sex couples are more likely to report 14 or more sick days than heterosexual couples. While the research performed by Vanderbilt University extrapolated data from both gay and lesbian relationships, the effects of health care proved to be more significant for gay men, likely because of deficiencies in data collection.
When nearly 37 million people suffer from sinusitis and other health issues each year, healthcare is a necessity. It’s been proven that marriage has also improved the mental health of couples and can even lower the risk of depression symptoms. As more and more Millennials choose to settle down later in life, worries regarding the mental health of the generation are at an all-time high.
How Millennials are changing the game
In 1970, only 50 years ago, the average couple was married at age 20.8 for women and age 23 for men; in 2018, the numbers have increased to 27.4 and 29.5, respectively. In fact, eHarmony reports that an American couple knows their partner for an average of six years before tying the knot.
But why? Some scholars say it’s because of student loans, while others focus on their career before marriage. The average married couple will take an extended honeymoon lasting anywhere from seven to nine days; the importance of rest and relaxation is not lost on the group that puts their work before pleasure.
Though the reasons behind the delay in marriage are varied, one thing is certain: marriage, again, is changing with the new generation: Gen Z.
Current trends in Gen Z
Because of the strides made by the Millennial generation, Gen Z kids are growing up in a more tolerant world in regard to LGBTQ+ rights, interracial relationships, and political views. In fact, about 66% of teens support marriage equality; this spells good news for those LGBTQ+ individuals who want to get married in the future.
An estimated 80% of Gen Z teens are open to getting married in the future. Despite this, however, it’s likely that Gen Z will follow in the footsteps of Millennial marriage habits: namely, marrying later, having kids later, and postponing large purchases like buying a home until they’re ready to settle down.
Gen Z children and teens care less about traditional familial roles, likely because a third of them live in households that do not conform to the typical patriarchal family structure. They don’t expect their fathers to be the sole breadwinner and their parents are often unmarried.
Though we cannot predict every outcome for the Gen Z-ers of the world, through the current trends between them and Millennials, we can rest assured that LGBTQ+ rights will continue to improve the health and well-being of future generations, whether marriage is a factor or not.
Tim Werth is an analyst at Hubshout.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius