The number of people in the United States who have never been married has hit an all-time high, new data indicates.
Washington DC think tank the Pew Research Center analysed a combination of official census data and the results of their own surveys. They found that 23 per cent of men and 17 per cent of women aged 25 or older had never married. This represents roughly 42 million people.
Pew’s researchers also projected that a significant portion of young Americans, 25 per cent, would never get married.
The results also suggested a dramatic rise in people either putting off marriage until later life or avoiding it altogether over the last few decades. In 1960, only nine per cent of people in that age group had never been married.
Roughly a quarter of the people who have never married were cohabiting with a partner. In one of Pew’s questionnaires, the public was asked about the value of marriage in contemporary society. While 46 per cent of people said society was better off if marriage and children were a priority, 50 per cent said it was just as well off if people had other priorities.
Despite these numbers, the majority of those surveyed believed that marriage was important if a couple intends to spend the rest of their lives together.
In the UK, the Office for National Statistics found that the number of unmarried couples living together is on the rise, and predicted that, by 2016, the majority of babies will be born to unmarried parents.