NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Proportion Of People Living Alone Has Jumped

June 29, 2001

More people are choosing to live alone or with someone who is not a relative, according to the Census Bureau. Put another way, the proportion of households comprised of families -- either married couples with or without children, or peopled with other blood-related family members -- has declined in the past three decades.

  • In 1970, more than 81 percent of the nation's 63 million households were family homes -- half of which were traditional families of two married parents and their children.
  • By 2000, not quite 69 percent of homes were family homes -- with 28.7 percent composed of married couples without children.
  • As of 1970, 64 percent of women and 45 percent of men were married by the time they reached 24.
  • But in 2000, barely 27 percent of women and 16 percent of men were married by age 24.

Nearly 15 percent of households were made up of single women in 2000 and another 10.7 percent were made up of single men. That was an increase from 1970, when 11.5 percent of households were made up of single women living alone and 5.6 percent were composed on single men living alone.

The median age for first marriage has risen by roughly four years -- to 25.1 years for women and 26.8 years for men in 2000.

Source: Cheryl Wetzstein, "Family Homes Less Common as Americans Live Solo," Washington Times, June 29, 2001.


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