Not Alone at Being Alone: Singles Statistics in the United States
Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a wonderful group of single adults at a singles conference in California. As a single adult myself, it is fascinating for me to recognize and to realize that I am actually not the only single person in the United States. In fact being single is increasingly becoming more common as more people are choosing to either forgo marriage, delay marriage, or to seek marriage alternatives in their lives. The following are US Census Bureau statistics I discussed with the singles in California.
These statistics are staggering as nearly 45% of all people over the age of 18 are single. Additionally almost 1 out of every five single adults is over the age of 65. Think about that--almost one out every two people in the US is not married and a large portion of these are over retirement age. Did you ever think you would find yourself single at this stage in life? Neither did I, yet many people like me, either by choice or circumstance, are unable to have a marriage in their lives. The social implications for that are far reaching and impactful. It effects allocation of public resources, influences elections, impacts the rates of poverty and employment. Additionally, our social norms and customs are changing and evolving to meet the needs of individuals who are not married or who do not have or belong to a family today. Only time will tell how impactful this will be, but the thought is fascinating as those who are married, if trends continue, will soon be in the minority.
Its also interesting to note that there are less men in the United States than women. While the difference is not huge, about 12% of all women may not have the opportunity to find someone to marry in the United States simply because of this gender gap. What is also interesting is that single adults over the age of 25 have a low probability of having at least a college degree. If we are single and hoping to find someone with a good job or a good education, the pool in which we draw from is much smaller than we may anticipate. How does this statistic effect our opportunity to get married in the future--even if we wanted to do so? Are we willing to adjust our thinking and standards towards dating as a result. These are questions only we ourselves may answer.
One of the great lessons I have learned in my life is that, despite a desire for a meaningful relationship in my life, I am not different from other people simply because I do not currently have a marriage relationship. There is grace, beauty, and joy in being single if we can see it. And while I never wish loneliness on anyone--it is a comfort that I am not alone in being alone :-)
You can find similar discussions and statistics about marriage and relationships in my book, The Greatest Worth: Finding Oneself in a Family Centric Faith. I hope you enjoy reading it.