The Century of Singletons

A recent article by the Census Bureau on “Families & Living Arrangements” draws attention to an increasing trend in the number of unmarried Americans. According to the data, since 1950, the gap between the number of married and unmarried Americans has narrowed substantially. 

In 1950, there were, approximately 74.4 million married people in the U.S. while 37.3 million were unmarried. By 1990, those numbers had changed to nearly 100 million and 79 million. In 2015, there were 133.6 million married and 121.5 million unmarried people. Approximately 53% of unmarried U.S. residents were women in 2015; 47% percent were men.



So, why the change? 

In part, this trend can be explained by an increase in divorce rates. From 1950 to 2015, the percentage of unmarried people identified as “divorced” increased from 7% to 21%. Many would say that another significant contributor to the increasing number of unmarried Americans is the so-called "hook-up" culture of the millennial generation. Younger people are, now, more apt to remain out of committed relationships and in cohabitation or casual dating. A generation which does not subscribe as strongly to the ideal of marriage certainly aids in keeping, or perhaps increasing, the percentage of the American population which is currently unmarried high. 

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Anna Graff

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