According to recently released information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now more single adult Americans than married ones for the first time since the government began gathering data in 1976.
Out of roughly 248.2 million Americans, 124.6 million were considered single as of August 2014.
Of these 124.6 million Americans, 50.2 percent were 16 years old or older. This can be compared to 123.6 million Americans who had a married status. Therefore, more than half of the United States is now considered single, compared to 37.4 percent back in 1976.
This percentage of single Americans has been slowly rising since 1976. In 2013, the number was just below the 50-percentile mark.
Swati Sethi, an instructor in the psychology department at Youngstown State University, said our society is shifting away from marriage.
“People used to get married for economic security and to fulfill their companionship and sexual needs. These needs are now being taken care of outside marriage, thus decreasing the need for a societal marriage,” Sethi said.
Sethi explained how we are now a non-traditional society because people are becoming more accepting of different types of relationships.
The percentage of adult Americans who have never been married is now 30.4 percent, compared to 22.1 percent in 1976. The percentage of divorced, separated or widowed Americans is 19.8 percent now, up from 15.3 percent in 1976.
Cryshanna Jackson, an associate professor of politics and international relations, agreed with Sethi, explaining that our society has undergone a cultural shift.
Jackson explained how marriage used to be forced upon people — or rather, how it was highly expected that individuals would marry young.
“Nowadays, people can choose whether or not they want to get married. And some people wait longer now because they want a degree in higher education, and to start their families afterwards,” Jackson said. “Marriage is not needed to have children though, and a baby does not necessarily come from a marriage.”
With this being said, many people may also rely on adoptions to complete their families. But, the Census Bureau found that in 2013, the U.S. population grew at its lowest rate since the Great Depression, because of low birth rates and lower immigration activity as a result of a slow economic recovery.
Jackson argued that even though there are more single individuals now, the American population will not be affected, not even by birth rates.
“We are a growing culture, and even though individuals may or may not choose to be married, it will not affect our growth as a population,” Jackson said.