Whether it’s through dating service ads on your Facebook page and in your inbox, or through the matchmaking attempts of a well-meaning friend, it’s easy for unmarried people to feel singled out. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, they shouldn’t.
Bloomberg reported Tuesday that singles now make up the majority of the adult population in the United States. Economist Edward Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research Inc., first noticed the change when looking over the BLS’s jobs report for the month of August. In that month there were 124.6 million unmarried Americans over the age of 16, meaning 50.2 percent of the nation’s adult population identifies as single.
In contrast, only 37.4 percent of the population was unmarried in 1976, when the U.S. government first started keeping track. That percentage has been creeping upwards ever since, lingering just below 50 percent since 2013.
Those tempted to blame millennials, and their tendency to drag their feet when it comes to walking down the aisle, should note that these numbers also include individuals who are divorced, separated and widowed. Over the past 38 years, there has been an increase in all four of these demographics.
Yardeni points out that this growing trend could have economic implications outside of the wedding industry. He believes the rise in the number of single adults may be distorting U.S. income inequality, pointing out that the lower household earnings of single people are balanced by fewer overall expenditures.
We’re asking: What do you think is behind the increase in unmarried American adults? Will this trend continue over time or will matrimony make a comeback? Will the U.S. economy benefit from singles’ greater disposable income, or will it suffer a blow as fewer buy houses and pay for childcare? Share your thoughts in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter using the hashtag #NewsHourAsks.