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Singles/Never Married Persons

Social And Historical Context Of Singlehood, Psychosocial Characteristics Of The Never Married, Culture, Ethnicity, And The Never Married


Just as the age at first marriage has increased over the past few decades, so too has the proportion of adults living together outside of traditional marriage, as well as the number of men and women who are delaying or forgoing marriage. This has resulted in a great number of men and women spending a significant amount of their adult years single. The U.S. Census Bureau (1999) reports that between 1975 and 1999, the percentage of people who had never married rose from 22 percent to 28 percent. For adults between the ages of thirty and thirty-four, the increase during this period has been from 6 percent to 29 percent for men, and from 9 percent to 21 percent for women.

With age, the percentage of the population that has never married decreases. In Canada and the United States, between 5 and 10 percent of older adults have never been married. As in most societies where approximately 90 to 95 percent of adults do marry, marriage remains the normative and expected life choice, and the connection between marriage and adulthood continues to be reaffirmed.


Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaFamily Theory & Types of Families