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Most Americans are Unmarried and Live Alone

By Lori Perkins

Image Taken From

New census data is in (although it has undercounted something like 19 million people living in the country) and the new numbers are different than in the past.

According to the USAfacts website, government data from over 70 sources organized to show how the money flows, the impact, and who "the people" are, Americans are now less likely to be married and more likely to live alone. When Americans do marry, they’re doing it later in life than in the past.

While a higher percentage of Americans are divorced, a lower percentage are widowed. And more than half a million same-sex couples are now married, which wasn’t an option for people until 2015.

Both men and women are marrying later in life today. Based on census data compiled since 1890, the youngest median ages of first marriage were in 1956 when it was just over 22 for men and 20 for women. By 2019, those figures were at their oldest: over 30 for men and over 28 for women.

A declining marriage rate is universal for all races and ethnicities in America but the trend is more pronounced for some. The marriage rates for white, Black, and Hispanic Americans have fallen roughly seven, eight, and 11 percentage points, respectively, since 1990. Meanwhile, marriage rates for Asian Americans have remained around 61% since 1990.

The number of unmarried men and women increased during the same time. In 1990, 30% of men and 23% of women had never been married. In 2019, 35% of men and 30% of women had never been married.

The shift is larger among Black and Hispanic Americans. In 1990, 43% of Black men had never been married. In 2021, it was 52%. During that period, the percent of unmarried Black women increased from 37% to 48%. For Hispanic women, it increased from 27% to 38%; the percent of unmarried Hispanic men increased from 37% to 47%.

In 1980, white men and women made up 80% of the US population and were the most likely demographic to be married. By 2021, Asian men and women were the most likely to be married. The demographic grew from 1.5% of the population in 1980 to 5.9% today.

Divorce rates increased across most demographic groups from 1990 to 2021. In 1990, 6.8% of men were divorced. By 2021, that figure was 8.4%. The divorce rate peaked for men in 2013 at 9%. The percentage of divorced women grew from 9.4% to 11% from 1990 to 2021.

Widowed Americans are also a smaller percentage of the population than in 1990. The widower population dropped from 3% to 2.7%. For women, that figure dropped from 12% to 8.6%.

Single-person households increased more than fivefold since 1960, from seven million to 37 million. The population who lived with at least one other person hasn't even doubled during that period. Single-person households were 3.8% of all households in 1960. As of 2021, they were 11.1%.

For more information, here’s a link to the USAfacts website,


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