American Marriages at an All-Time Low

Pew Research Center analysis shows just 51 percent of American adults are wed.

by Lesley Kennedy • Reporter

Apparently more and more people are agreeing with the words of the famous journalist H.L. Mencken: “The longest sentence you can form with two words is ‘I do.’ ”

A new analysis of U.S. Census data by the Pew Research Center finds a record low percentage—a mere 51 percent—of American adults are now married. And the median age at which folks get hitched for the first time is higher than ever: 26.5 years for women and 28.7 years for men, Pew reports.

“If current trends continue, the share of adults who are currently married will drop to below half within a few years,” the report states. “Other adult living arrangements—including cohabitation, single-person households and single parenthood—have all grown more prevalent in recent decades.”

Maybe Mencken’s words really are ringing true for a younger generation. After all, he’s the one who also said, “Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who would want to live in an institution?”

Click here to read the full report.

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First Published December 16, 2011

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