WEDDINGS

Low Marriage Rates Caused By Unwritten Social Rules?

04/12/2013 04:12 pm ET

Marriage rates in America are at an all-time low. Young men and women are delaying marriage into their late 20s and early 30s, sometimes to their detriment of their health and well-being.

And yet, with the average cost of a wedding hovering around $28,000, it's no wonder that those in their early- to mid-20s are reluctant to tie the knot -- they likely don't have the money to do it.

On Thursday, author and Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum offered another possible explanation for low marriage rates:

"We've been sent an insidious little message [about marriage]: that being committed to a partner means having graduated to a certain standard of bourgeois living," she said at a public forum in Beverly Hills, Calif. Daum explained that there is an unspoken cultural assertion that in order to earn the "right" to be married, couples must first reach upper-class status. "With unwritten cultural rules like that," she said, "it's no wonder marriage gets put on the back burner."

In the U.S., just 20 percent of adults aged 18 to 29 are married, and four in 10 Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center in 2010 said they believe that marriage is obsolete.

Do you have an explanation for why marriage rates are dropping? Share it in the comments or tweet @HuffPostWedding.

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