Maybe it's hookup culture. Maybe it's that people are getting married later in life. Or maybe it's that people struggle to meet potential partners in person nowadays.
The amount of young Americans who are single -- now more than half, according to a study released recently -- has reached its peak since at least the 1980s and has drastically increased in just the past 15 years.
That's according to data from a General Social Survey released recently that showed in 2018, 51 percent of Americans ages 18 to 34 said they didn't currently have a "steady partner," up from 33 percent in 2004. The same figure was 35 percent in 1986, the first year the question was asked as part of the survey.
Among the same age group, 28 percent of respondents said they were married, down from 39 percent in 2004 and 48 percent in 1986. The data were compiled by researchers at the University of Chicago who conducted in-person interviews with a random sample of more than 2,000 adults.
The data may seem counter-intuitive in a time and age when dating feels more accessible than ever as a result of the proliferation of dating apps. In 2017, four in 10 singles met their most recent first date on the Internet, more than those who met "through a friend" or "at a bar" combined, according to results from the Singles in America survey, a Match.com-sponsored survey of 5,000 people nationwide.
But the relative speed of finding a potential partner when they're right at your fingertips apparently hasn't translated to a higher overall percentage of young people who are in committed relationships. In fact, the data could illustrate that a greater number of people today have multiple love interests, none of whom is a "steady partner."
There are a few other trends at work here. For one, people are getting married later in life than ever before (and women are having fewer children later in their lives). In 2018, the median age for a first marriage was 27.8 for women and 29.8 for men, about four years older than median ages in 1986, which were 23.1 for women and 25.7 for men, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
The major reasons Americans cited for not being married was that they either hadn't found the "right person" or weren't financially stable, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2017 among nearly 5,000 U.S. adults. Among the adults surveyed who had never been married but were open to the possibility, about six in 10 said a major reason was they "have not found the right person."
Among young people ages 18 to 29, about half said not being financially stable was a major reason they weren't married. Studies show more young people today are electing to live at home while saving cash as home prices, rent costs, and student loan debt are rising at a faster rate than income.
High Profile on 03/31/2019
Print Headline: 51% of U.S. adults set a record high as single, data say