Solving Millennial Marriage Evolution

48 U. Balt. L. Rev. 1 (2018)

37 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2018

See all articles by Lynne Marie Kohm

Lynne Marie Kohm

Regent University - School of Law

Kathleen Akers

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Date Written: November 29, 2018


Marital incentives and disincentives have changed for millennial Americans, impacting their economic and family decisions, while also creating a ripple effect in society, dividing the rich and the poor in new and profound ways creating an income inequality gap. Millennial prerogative on the high end of this income inequality gap has decreased the incentives of marriage while simultaneously decreasing the number of couples committing to the permanency of marriage despite their age and available resources. On the lower end of this gap, childbearing outside of marriage is common, and unemployment makes the economic gap all the wider, creating greater inequality between women and men, rich and poor. These aspects have worked together causing new marriage norms to develop in American society which are particularly being reflected in the millennial generation. Evolving social trends have produced highly educated and wealthy women who are marrying and having children much later in life, while concurrently minimizing marriageable men at the lower end of the income inequality gap because of chronic unemployment, a lack of education, incarceration, and substance abuse, leaving a larger group of women at the high end of the socioeconomic spectrum with a smaller group of comparable men across the board. Predictably, the effects of these associations are impacting the future of family stability in current and future generations. Because a formidable connection exists between the legal and economic incentives and the economic success of intimate associations, we analyze marriage as an economic market affected by supply, demand, consumer preferences, and constraints to work toward a meaningful analysis of efficiency and human capital. In the context of human socio-legal connections, we analyze scholarship, data, and recent information from surveyed millennials to propose incentives and solutions to this growing concern.

Part I examines the millennial desire for employment, financial security, and education as well as the impact these desires have on decisions toward marriageability. It considers the rise in numbers of single Americans, data illuminating how to define millennials, and evidence indicating that they are not convinced happiness is found in marriage. Part II examines the legal incentives and economic connections between intimate associations and economic success. It analyzes the economics behind America’s marriage decline, the effects of online dating and new forms of human romantic connection, and the effects of childbearing and child-rearing on national family strength. Finally, Part III combines those discussions to consider the dependence of national economic success on current and future marital commitments, offering proposals to improve family stability nationally through marital strength. In this section we proffer that the solution to incentivizing marriage for millennials may be increasing an understanding of the connection between prestige and parenthood, thereby effectively reconnecting parenthood with marriage. This connection, particularly with respect to the human capital of children, may provide positive links between marriage, sex, family, and overall social benefits for both ends of the income inequality gap. We also suggest legislation to incentivize this connection to work toward solving the income inequality gap currently evident in millennial marriages.

Keywords: millennial, marriage, economics, incentives, income inequality

JEL Classification: K1, K10, A1, B00, D00, H00, I00, I28, I29, I30, J00, J01, J08, K36

Suggested Citation

Kohm, Lynne Marie and Akers, Kathleen, Solving Millennial Marriage Evolution (November 29, 2018). 48 U. Balt. L. Rev. 1 (2018), Available at SSRN:

Lynne Marie Kohm (Contact Author)

Regent University - School of Law ( email )

1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
United States


Kathleen Akers

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

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