Trend to postponing marriage increases

by on September 30, 2010  •  In Marriage, Social science

Data released this week by the Census Bureau show that the proportion of currently married adults of all ages fell to 52% in 2009, the lowest share in history. In 1960, 72.2% of adults over 18 were married.

Among people between the ages of 25 and 34, in 2009 the proportion of those who had never been married exceeded those who were married: 46.3% never married versus 44.9% married. According to an analysis by Mark Mather, a demographer at the Population Reference Bureau, the decline among young adults has accelerated since the onset of the recession. 

The number of married women fell to just under 50% of all women, marking "possibly the first time in U.S. history" that unmarried women have outnumbered married women. In 2009, there were an estimated 59.8 million women not currently married compared to 59.5 million married women.

The probability of getting married at some point in life remains at about 90%.

Since 2000, the proportion of married persons among young adults has declined in every state, but not evenly. Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont were among the top 10 states with the largest decreases in marriage among young adults from 2000 to 2009. States where marriage rates remained relatively stable include Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.


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