Americans are not getting married in record numbers. This according to a Pew Research Center survey. In 1960, just 9% of adults 25 and older — or close to one in 10 — had never been married. In 2012 that number was one in five — or 20%. In terms of numbers, that’s 42-million people.
Men are more likely than women to have never married. It’s 23% to 17%. If you’re keeping score, in 1960 those numbers were 10% for men and 8% for women in the same 25 and older age group.
The median age for women marrying is now 27. It’s 29 for men. In 1960 the median marriage age for women was 20 and it was 23 for men.
Here are Pew’s conclusions as to why:
• Adults are marrying later in life.
• More are just cohabiting.
• A significant number are having children and raising them outside of marriage.
Pew Research found that 24% of never-been-married adults age 25 to 34 are living with a partner.
We also tend to be deeply divided now about the value of marriage and the role it plays in society. Pew offered respondents two questions on the topic:
• Society is better off if people make marriage and having children a priority — 46% chose this statement as true.
• Society is just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children — 50% chose this statement as true.
Breaking it down a bit:
• 67% of adults 18 to 29 agreed that society is better off if people have priorities other than marriage and children.
• 53% of adults 30 to 49 agreed with that, too.
• Of those 50 and older, 55% think society is better off if people make marriage and children a priority.
That said, when it comes to couples planning on staying together forever, 68% say get married with 47% saying it is very important and 21% thinking it is somewhat important.
Second to lastly:
• 53% of the never-married adults say they’ll tie the knot eventually.
• That’s down a bit from 2010 when 61% said they’d marry some day.
• 32% say they really don’t want to get married and that it’ll probably never change but won’t rule it out.
• 13% say they’ll never, ever do it.
Lastly — those deciding to marry:
• 78% of never-married women say they will only marry someone with a steady job.
• The never-married man thinks ideas on how to raise children are more important than a steady job.
• Few place much priority on a partner with similar moral or religious beliefs.
• The same goes for education pedigree and racial or ethnic backgrounds.