WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – More evidence of the changing picture of the American family: the share of adults in the country who have never tied the knot is at a historic high.
In 2012, one out of five Americans age 25 and older had never been married, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. That’s about 42 million people.
Back in 1960, only 9 percent of people in that same age range had not been married, the researchers found by poring through census data.
Men are more likely to have never been married, 23 percent in 2012 versus 17 percent for women. That gender gap has widened since 1960, when the share of never-marrieds was 10 percent for men and 8 percent for women.
And Americans who do get married are waiting longer before heading to the altar.
The median age for a first marriage is now 27 for women and 29 for men, up from 1960 when it was age 20 for women and 23 for men.
The survey points out that the shares of adults living together and raising children outside of marriage have increased quite a bit. 24 percent of never married adults from ages 25 to 34 are living with a partner, according to the researchers.
The trend cut across all racial and ethnic groups, but has been stronger among African-Americans. 36 percent of blacks over the age of 25 have never been married. In 1960 it was just 9 percent.
The researchers cite economic and social changes as the major reasons Americans seem to be putting off marriage.
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