St. Louis, MO- Marriage has long been held as a natural stage in the progression of one’s life, but that may not be the case anymore. Changing social attitudes and economic necessities are driving young Americans wait before walking down the aisle, with more and more of them deciding not to marry at all.

The study by the Pew Research Center found that rates of men and women who have never been married have reached historic highs, and Millennials, a large proportion of whom are products of divorce or blended families, are delaying marriage longer than previous generations.

As of 2012, Pew found that in the 25 to 42 age group, one in five adults had never been married,  a significantly higher number than in the 60s when only a one in ten adults in the same age group never married.

Not all Millennials aren’t rejecting marriage outright, but they are waiting longer to take the plunge. According to Pew, in 2012, the average age of a first marriage for women was 27 and for men 29. A significant change from the 60s when women married at age 20 and men married at age 23.

But why such a drastic change?

Pew believes socio-economic factors are the driving force behind the delay in marriage and couples are more inclined to wait until after they get their education and start their career before getting married.

Women, they found, place a high premium on finding a spouse with a steady job, but the pool of younger men in the workforce is dwindling. In the 25 to 34 age group of adults who have never been married, for every 100 women only 91 men hold a steady job, leaving 9 percent of women in that age group without a potential mate.

Education also plays a role in the changing attitude towards marriage. Women one average have a higher level of education than previous generations. Today, one-third of women aged 25 and older who have never been married hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree while only one-quarter of never-married men have a higher education, according to Pew.

Couples with higher education levels and higher incomes are likely to have a longer-lasting marriage. Divorce among lower income couples with little college education is significantly higher than.

Of those who had been previously married and divorced, fewer feel the desire to re-marry. After the emotional turmoil, back and forth sessions with divorce attorneys and battles over who gets what, one in five men and women said they had no interest in re-marrying. Divorced men, however, had a greater desire to marry with

Marriage rates may declining, but that doesn’t mean long-term relationships are a thing of the past by any means. More Americans are choosing to cohabitate and have children with their significant others outside the bounds of holy matrimony. These couples build a life together, own homes and intertwine their finances just like married couples.