It really starts in your mid-20s, anxious parents eager for you to muscle up and show that you’re adult by getting married and maybe thinking about having kids of your own. The drumbeat only gets louder as your constantly pounded by Facebook updates showing that seemingly everyone you know is getting married, happily of course. Taken together it seems to all say “the fairytale is real and you aren’t invited.” Bag that noise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you’re single, you’re in the majority.
Single Americans make up more than half of the adult population for the first time since the government began compiling such statistics in 1976.
Some 124.6 million Americans were single in August, 50.2 percent of those who were 16 years or older, according to data used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its monthly job-market report. That percentage had been hovering just below 50 percent since about the beginning of 2013 before edging above it in July and August. In 1976, it was 37.4 percent and has been trending upward since.
Granted, roughly 20% of those single people used to be married but still, a majority is a majority. According to Bloomberg this means that nearly a full 1/3rd or 30.4% of Americans have never been married and we’re including minors in that number. These people are 18 and up.
Three things that you might expect to hear as a retort to you’re “we’re a majority now!” argument include the following:
- People live waaay longer and men die sooner than women so there are and will continue to be many more widows in the baby boomer generation than in generations before. This skews the numbers.
- People get married later, generally, and get divorced more often. The U.S. has a 53% divorce rate so a majority of marriages end in divorce. These are usually first marriages though. The second time, things go much better. Regardless, waiting until later in life to get married pluses up those singlehood numbers.
- “You’ll never own your own home.” It’s gonna be harder. Most single people rent because they don’t have the capital to put down a down payment these days. You’ll also save less and, if you have kids as a single person, have less disposable income overall.
- The older you are when you divorce, the lower the chance is that you’ll remarry. So, marry early and often, I guess. This means that if you divorce at 50 after X years of marriage, your chances of remarrying are lower.
So, now you’re ready when some smart aleck challenges your majority status. This may not shut up your marriage happy friends but at least they’ll know that these days they are the weird ones, not you.