Number of Unmarried Americans Now Over 50 Percent

For the first time, more than half of all Americans today are single but the ideal of marriage and children is far from dead — in fact, most young Americans still say that they want to get married someday.

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the number of Americans over the age of 16 who are unmarried leapt from 37.4 percent in 1974 to 50.2 percent today, covering 124.6 million people, a 2013 Gallup poll showed that 84.5 percent of high school senior girls and 77 percent of high school senior boys still believe marriage to be “extremely important.”

Many couples, according to a new study, are opting to live together without marriage, Bloomberg reports, with the number of people who have never married rising to 30.4 percent from 22.1 percent 30 years ago and divorced people making up 19.8 percent of Americans, compared to 15.3 percent in 1976.

The number of young couples who opt to just move in together rather than get married has skyrocketed from 1.1 percent in 1960 to 11.6 in 2011, according to Family Facts, but researchers warn that marriage is still the ideal, and those couples who choose to “shack up” before marriage may be hurting their chances of ever having a successful, high-quality marriage.

In a recent study reported by the National Marriage Project, it was discovered that, “Those who lived with their eventual spouse before having a mutual and clear commitment to marry reported lower levels of marital quality than those who waited until after planning marriage or getting married to move in together.