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hemez-nonmarital-sex-by-age-25-boomers-millennials-fp-17-11C

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Nonmarital Sex by Age 25:

Paul Hemez

FP-17-11

Generational Differences Between Baby Boomers and Millennials

Figure 1. Share of Women Who had Nonmarital Sex by Age 25, by Generation

Attitudes and demographic characteristics appear to differ between Baby Boomers and Millennials (Anderson, 2017; Taylor, 2014). Using the 2002 and 2011/15 cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), this Family Profile considers whether generational differences between Baby Boomers and Millennials also exist with regards to women’s engagement in nonmarital sex in early adulthood. Specifically, we compare the shares of late Baby Boomer women (born between 1957 and 1964) and early Millennial women (born between 1981 and 1990) who had sex outside of marriage by age 25, with distinctions by racial/ethnic status and educational attainment. Our analyses are restricted to women’s sexual experiences with male partners only.

Eight in ten Baby Boomer women had sex outside of marriage before their 25th birthday compared to nine in ten Millennial women, a percentage increase of 11%.

Share of Baby Boomer and Millennial Women who had Nonmarital Sex by Age 25

Among women who had sex outside of marriage during early adulthood, the average number of partners increased from 4.6 to 6.5 between Baby Boomers and Millennials.  

Source: Baby Boomers, 2002 NSFG; Millennials, 2011/15 NSFG

Late Baby Boomers

Early Millennials

Birth Years: 1957-1964

Birth Years: 1981-1990

*Note: The terms Baby Boomer and Millennial throughout this profile represent late members of the Baby Boomer generation and early members of the Millennial generation.

...the average number of partners increased from 4.6 to 6.5 between Baby Boomers and Millennials.

Suggested Citation:

Nonmarital Sex by Age 25 Across Educational Attainment Levels  

Figure 3. Share of Women Who had Nonmarital Sex by Age 25, by Generation and Educational Attainment

Nonmarital sexual experience by age 25 was more common among Millennials than Baby Boomers across each educational attainment level.

References:

Source: Baby Boomers, 2002 NSFG; Millennials, 2011/15 NSFG

Across race/ethnicity, the share of women who had nonmarital sex by age 25 was greater among Millennials than Baby Boomers.

Nonmarital Sex by Age 25 Across Racial and Ethnic Status  

Figure 2. Share of Women Who had Nonmarital Sex by Age 25, by Generation and Race/Ethnicity

The racial/ethnic gap in nonmarital sex has diminished. Among Baby Boomers, the share of women who experienced nonmarital sex by age 25 varied by race/ethnicity, ranging from 64% of Hispanics to 91% of Blacks.

Source: Baby Boomers, 2002 NSFG; Millennials, 2011/15 NSFG

Note: We exclude respondents who report "other" or multiple racial/ethnic statuses from Figure 2, but they are included in the overall totals.

Among women born a quarter century later, however, there was virtually no racial/ethnic variation in the share of women who had sex outside of marriage (90% - 92%).

In both the Baby Boomer and the Millennial generations, the largest share of women who had nonmarital sex by their 25th birthday were those with a high school education or GED, whereas the smallest share included those with at least a college degree.

005 Williams Hall Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, OH 43403

This project is supported with assistance from Bowling Green State University. From 2007 to 2013, support was also provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as representing the opinions or policy of any agency of the state or federal government.

National Center for Family & Marriage Research

Family Profiles: Original reports summarizing and analyzing nationally representative data with the goal to provide the latest analysis of U.S. families. These profiles examine topics related to the NCFMR's core research themes.

http://www.bgsu.edu/ncfmr.html

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