Guys, it's time we had a talk. We've noticed that many of you haven't brought anyone home for the holidays in quite some time, and we just heard a troubling statistic: Fewer Americans are married than ever before! Apparently, times have changed, because now only 51% of all adults have tied the knot. Being single might be "in" right now, but you know ... you're not getting any younger. Would you like us to introduce you to some nice boys we know? It's either them or your mom's friend's son who works at the deli counter.
Today in news you will definitely be discussing with nosy family member in the next few weeks, the Pew Research Center revealed that the number of currently married people has hit a record low. New Census Bureau data shows that only 51% of Americans 18 and older are married, down from 72% in 1960. The number of new marriages also declined by 5% between 2009 and 2010 as the scourges of cohabitation, single-parenting, and confirmed bachelorhood continued to take hold in the U.S. If this continues, within the next few years we could become a society in which the majority of Americans aren't living in matrimony, holy or otherwise.
It's unclear if this is due to the shifts in when people get married, the higher divorce rate, or increasing disdain for the institution of marriage. The number of people who have ever been married is still pretty high at 72%, but that number is down from 85% in 1960. Today only 20% of young adults, ages 18 to 29, are married and in the past 50 years the median age at first marriage has increased about six years, to 26.5 for women and 28.7 for men. About four in 10 Americans say marriage is dying out, but most people who haven't been married still say they'd like to someday.
Naturally, you can expect Republicans to use this information to bolster their argument that marriage needs defending, but this isn't necessarily bad news. Plenty of the people who got married in 1960 did so because it was what was expected of them, and they stayed in unhappy situations because the alternative was scandalous. Though conservatives act like life in prehistoric times resembled Ozzie and Harriet (but with more Flintstones wooly mammoth showers), in reality marriage has meant many things in different cultures. The institution has always been evolving, and it continues to do so. But if Republicans are really concerned about these trends, there's a simple solution: Let all gay people get married and those numbers should shoot back up a bit.
Barely Half of U.S. Adults Are Married – A Record Low [Pew Social Trends]
Image via Gunnar Pippel/Shutterstock.