How Hook-Up Culture Is Silently Ruining The Economy

by Caroline McGuire

It’s no secret that the hook-up culture is a prevalent phenomenon in the Millennial generation.

But, did you ever think about how these habits might affect the economy?

Probably not. Because why would casual sex and one-night stands have any impact on the marketplace? In truth, it does.

While it is becoming more common to have kids before getting married, marriage rates show a direct correlation to birth rates, both of which are declining.

According to The New York Times, marriage rates are at an all-time low of 50.5 percent in comparison to a high of 72.2 percent in 1960.

Moreover, according to a study conducted by Pew, the marriage rate for ages 18-24 is on a steady decline.

The decrease in the number of marriages is a clear signal people are not spending as much on events such as weddings, bachelor parties, etc.

And, let’s be real: If you’re participating in the hook-up culture, are you going on dates?

Similarly, birth rates have also been on a steep decline. According to the NCHS, in 2013, birth rates were down 9 percent since 2007.

The NVSS found that the total fertility rate, which is the number of children a woman would have if she were fertile for a normal time period and survived childbirth, is at an all-time low of 1.89 percent since 1986.

Babies are a natural economic stimulant; one’s immediate spending severely increases upon having a child.

Parents are constantly purchasing diapers, formula and baby food. When couples stop having babies, they are evidently not spending as much money.

There are other factors at play here besides the hook-up culture. The US economy is currently wading out of, arguably, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

One could easily dispute that both weddings and babies cost more money than people are willing to spend right now.

Risk aversion after an economic catastrophe is a normal reaction from the consumer.

Furthermore, women are becoming more career-oriented, which leads to having children later or sometimes, not at all.

Despite all of these very rational explanations, the hook-up culture trend definitely does play a role in the decline in birth and marriage rates.

The hook-up culture is a product of the evolving social constructs we have as a society.

Women are becoming more independent and, therefore, place a heavier emphasis on career goals versus finding a potential husband.

In this case, it is much easier to satisfy sexual desires by participating in light-hearted, casual sex.

You don’t have to go on dates or have dinner with their parents, and it’s a lot simpler and less involved than your traditional dating experience.

However, as a result, the economy undoubtedly suffers. According to another study conducted by Pew, “One in four of today’s young adults may never get married.”

In this study, the term "young adult" is comprised of people aged 25-34, so a chunk of the Millennial generation is accounted for here.

A Time magazine article summarized another Pew study on why 25 percent of Millennials will never get married.

An overwhelming amount of Millennials cited they were “not ready/too young to settle down,” while another bulk stated they “hadn’t found what they were looking for.”

I wouldn’t say the hook-up culture is completely ruining the economy. However, it is not necessarily contributing to the economy in a positive manner.

Casual sex is what it is and nothing more. There are no great romantic gestures or tales that come out of it.

While immersed in the hook-up culture, Millennials are certainly not rushing to get married, have kids or even go on a dinner date.

Less money in the economy means businesses may not want to spend as much hiring employees or producing goods and services.

Ultimately, this dating pattern demonstrates an unrecognized disregard for the economy.