The Never Married

Aug 8, 2012 by

Many interesting facts and findings are coming to light as the data from the latest U.S. Census is digested and analyzed. Even though statistics on marriages and divorces in the U.S. has been collected since 1986, a new report based on data from the Census’ Survey of Income and Program Participation will be the first revised analysis of the topic since 2001.

The researchers looked at data from 39,000 households collected in 2009 from both men and women aged 15 and older and found that over 30% of Americans have never been married. The data sample of 55,497 men and women living today who have never been married at all represents the largest percentage of that demographic group in the last 60 years. The findings have caused sociologists to theorize that increases in the never-been-married population may be due to both higher ages for first marriages and an increase in the number of unmarried couples living together. The Census data confirms that as the average age for first marriages continues to rise and cohabitation increases in popularity, marriage becomes something that many consider optional and they also tend to do it later in life these days.

The Census data is chock full of surprising marriage facts including the finding that most first marriages that fail and end in divorce, do so at the eight year mark. Looking at currently married couples in the U.S today, 55% had been married for at least 15 years,  35% made it for 25 years and just 6% reached the 50-year mark. The numbers are a few percentage points above 1996 stats and as such represent ongoing increases in life expectancy and a leveling off of rising divorce rates. However, the real surprise was the rise of the 25 to 29-year-old never-married group that grew from just 27% of the population in 1986 to nearly a full half at 47% in 2009.


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