Changing Relationships: Never married? Join the club!

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series changing relationships
Pew Rising Share of Never Married Adults

CLICK this Pew chart to visit Pew’s website for the entire 46-page report titled “Record Share of Americans Have Never Married: As Values, Economics and Gender Change”

Not long ago, most people assumed they would be married. Today, that assumption is no longer true for many Americans.

Are you among the never-married?

If you are, you have more company than ever before, according to a new Pew report. In 1960, only 10% of men and 8% of women ages 25 and older reported that they had never been married. Now, almost one-quarter of men (23%) and 17% of women say that they have never been married.

That’s a huge trend. The share of never-married adults has never been higher.

Many factors contribute to this trend. One is that marriage, at least for the young, is less fashionable. As Pew analysts report, young American adults are slow to marry. Consider that, in 1960, 28% of young men and 13% of young women had not married by the time they were 25 years old. Now, 78% of men and 67% of women have not married by the same age.

Why are young adults delaying marriage? Are they pickier? Do they lack the financial resources? Have they simply not found that someone special?

One of the main reasons, Pew finds, isn’t romantic at all—the most-cited reason, among Americans ages 25 to 34, is money—or, more accurately, the lack of it. Many feel financially unprepared to get married.

Young Americans don’t appear to be pickier. The second most-cited reason for delaying marriage is that not finding someone “who has what they are looking for.” But Americans 35 and older are more likely to site this reason—in fact, it’s the single biggest reason for not getting married.

Is the rising numbers of never-married Americans good, bad, or indifferent for society?

Have you delayed marriage? If so, why?

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