Millennials More Likely to Think Engagement Rings Symbolize Ownership

Millennials approve of the engagement ring tradition slightly less than past generations—and are more likely to think a ring symbolizes ownership.

A YouGov survey found that 77 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds approve of the tradition, versus 80 percent of 38- to 54-year-olds. By contrast, 87 percent of respondents older than 55 approve.

Most U.S. adults see engagement rings as a sign of love (51 percent) and commitment (64 percent).

However, younger generations are more likely to think a ring symbolizes “ownership” or “materialism.”

About 15 percent of millennials think an engagement ring symbolizes the economic status of the one proposing—compared to 4 percent over the age of 44.

Millennials are also the most likely age group (14 percent) to feel that engagement rings are a way to show ownership over the other person, versus 6 percent of 38- to 54-year-olds, and 4 percent for over 55s.

Full survey results can be seen here.

(Image courtesy of Mark Patterson)

JCK News Director


  • Sarah

    Fascinating. But it still represents a real minority of an age group. Plus… how many of the people who think “diamonds are materialistic” would have been in the diamond market anyway? I’m just a few months too old to be a Millennial and it seems as if I have been hearing the anti-materialism message since I was a teenager. And yet most of the Millennials I know are pretty materialistic. They just don’t have much money so they depend on other people to buy them stuff.