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Share of Americans living without a partner has increased, especially among young adults

Pew Fact Tank – “In the past 10 years, the share of U.S. adults living without a spouse or partner has climbed to 42%, up from 39% in 2007, when the Census Bureau began collecting detailed data on cohabitation. Two important demographic trends have influenced this phenomenon. The share of adults who are married has fallen, while the share living with a romantic partner has grown. However, the increase in cohabitation has not been large enough to offset the decline in marriage, giving way to the rise in the number of “unpartnered” Americans. The share of adults who are unpartnered has increased across the young and middle-aged, but the rise has been most pronounced among young adults. Roughly six-in-ten adults younger than 35 (61%) are now living without a spouse or partner, up from 56% just 10 years ago. The rise in adults living without a spouse or partner has also occurred against the backdrop of a third important demographic shift: the aging of American adults. Older adults (55 and older) are more likely to have a spouse or partner than younger adults. So it is surprising that the share of adults who are unpartnered has risen even though relatively more Americans are older. Divorce has likely not contributed to the growing share of unpartnered adults over this short period. Though divorce statistics are complicated, many argue that the divorce rate has generally been stable or falling since the 1980s. This trend has important implications for the economic well-being of U.S. adults, as research has shown the financial benefits of marriage and cohabitation. The median household income (adjusted for household size) for partnered adults, either married or cohabiting, is $86,000. By contrast, the median household income for unpartnered adults is roughly $61,000. In addition, unpartnered adults are about twice as likely as partnered adults to be living in poverty (17% versus 7%)…”

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