Record number of Americans will never marry

Marriage on the RocksAfter decades of declining marriage rates and changes in family structure, the share of American adults who have never been married is at an historic high. In 2012, one-in-five adults ages 25 and older (about 42 million people) had never been married,according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data. In 1960, only about one-in-ten adults (9%) in that age range had never been married.1 Men are more likely than women to have never been married (23% vs. 17% in 2012). And this gender gap has widened since 1960, when 10% of men ages 25 and older and 8% of women of the same age had never married according to PEW.

Many never-married young adults are not “single.” According to Pew Research analysis of the March 2013 Current Population Survey, about 24% of never-married Americans ages 25 to 34 currently live with a partner. According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, among women who first cohabited at age 25 to 29, their premarital cohabitation relationship typically lasted about a year and a half (17 months). Research finds that after one year, about three-in-ten young adults get married, 9% break up the relationship and 62% continue cohabiting. By the third year, nearly six-in-ten (58%) married, 19% broke up and 23% remained in the relationship.*

According to the same data from the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly half of women ages 15 to 44 (48%) have cohabited with a partner (before marriage). Women with less than a high school diploma (70%) are more likely to have lived with an unmarried partner than those with a college degree or higher (47%). Among women who are in a cohabiting relationship, college-educated women are more likely than their counterparts who do not have a high school diploma to get married after three years (53% vs. 30%).

* Copen, Casey E., Kimberly Daniels and William D. Mosher. 2013. “First Premarital Cohabitation in the United States: 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth.” National Health Statistics Report, No. 64. April. (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr064.pdf)

Leave a Reply