Young adults seeing difference between ideal wishes and reality

As Pennsylvania parents we often listen to our children talk about their future. What they want to be when they grow up, who they want to marry and what adventures they are going to have. Then, we listen to them talk about some other things that are said without experience, such as ones that begin with “When I’m a parent, I won’t…” As parents, we often keep our mouths shut instead of ruining reality.

A Pew Research Center study found that more and more young adults are having to make those sacrifices despite thier perceived ideals about how things should be. The study focused on the desire to have a dual-income marriage and the reality of those that do have a dual-income marriage broken down by age.

It may not come as a big surprise to find that out of all age groups in the study, those who land in the 18 years to 29 years are the most adamant about having a dual-income marriage. In fact, 72 percent of those in that group said that they would prefer to have both husband and wife bringing in a paycheck.

What might be surprising is that the statistics show that only 47 percent of that same age group actually have a dual-income marriage. The gap closes further in the next age group of 30 to 49 years, with 63 percent wanting it and 57 percent having it.

So what is causing the gap between young adults wants and real life. Researchers hypothesize that much of the difference is due to children. When our children become parents themselves, they realize how much work children really are.

In the same study, researchers found that children under the age of 6 require 15 hours per week of at least one parent’s time. That does not leave a lot of extra time for a job and one parent often stops working full-time to help out more at home.

When a couple gets married, in this day, many may enter into it with their own career, income and assets. When a spouse is the one to sacrifice the job during the marriage, spousal support determinations during a divorce take into account the non-monetary contributions that are made.

Source: Pew Research Center, “For young adults, the ideal marriage meets reality,” Wendy Wang, July 10, 2013