NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Americans Are Single Today than Ever Before

January 20, 2015

The country is awaiting President Obama's State of the Union address this evening, but what about the state of American families? Rachel Sheffield, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, offers a few statistics on marriage and families as of 2014:

  • Is marriage outdated? Sixty-seven percent of Americans say no, according to the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture.
  • Unmarried mothers are responsible for more than 40 percent of all births.
  • The 2014 Census indicates that children in single-parent homes are five times as likely to be in poverty compared to their peers in two-parent homes.
  • Married men have higher incomes than their peers, according to a study from the American Enterprise Institute. The study also found that the drop in the marriage rate is responsible for 32 percent of the rise in family income inequality since 1979.
  • There are more single Americans today than ever before -- more than half of the adult population is single today, compared to just 37.4 percent in the 1970s.

Sheffield also notes that there is a link between education and marriage. Among mothers without a high school diploma, 63 percent of births are outside of marriage. For women with a college education, the numbers are very different: the vast majority of births (71 percent) are to married women. 

Source: Rachel Sheffield, "What's the Real Story on Marriage and Family Trends? Here Are 11 Findings," Daily Signal, January 19, 2015.


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