Singlehood:Why are so Many “Going Solo” Introduction to Family Studies
How many are single? • The number of single people = • never married + (could be cohabiting) • divorced + • widowed + • Lesbians and gay men who live in states that don’t allow gay marriage • Total single people increased from 37.5 million in 1970 to • 102 million in 2011 • 44 percent of all Americans age 18 and older are single • 53% were women and • 47% were men.
Why are so many single? The proportion of adults who have never been married rose from 15 percent in 1972 to 30 percent in 2011. The proportion of adults who are single has doubled in 40 years The proportion of households consisting of one person living alone increased from 17 percent in 1970 to 28 percent in 2011; More than 33 million people live alone.
Why are so many single? There has also been an increase in unmarried couples 1 percent in 1960 7 percent in 2011 NOTE you are considered “single,” by statisticians even if you are living with an opposite sex or same-sex person Sources: Fields, 2004; U.S. Census Bureau, 2008; U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey .2009; U.S. Census Bureau News, 2009, U.S. Census Bureau, Briefs, 2010, Monitoring the Future, 2006; Kreider & Ellis, 2009, U.S. Census, ACS, 2011; Pew Research Center, 2012; U.S. Census Bureau, 2012.
Why are so many single? More people are divorced than in the past But the divorce rate reached a peak in the 1980s and in the past 10 years has remained about the same The REAL change that has led to more singles is that many people, especially women, are choosing not to REMARRY So the remarriage rate is down Why are fewer women choosing to remarry than in the past?
Postponing marriage Many young people are pursuing a college education, preparing for a job or career, and spending more time in school and career before marrying. Many of you are marrying later than your parents or grandparents did. But that doesn’t mean you will NEVER marry Most people eventually do marry
Source for most recent figures:http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr049.pdf
Going Solo New York University Sociologist Eric Klinenberg wrote a book titled: Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone His book investigates the growing trend of Americans who are single or living alone About 50 percent of Americans are single and 1 in 7 people live alone
Going Solo Because more than 90 percent of all Americans marry at least once, marriage is still the norm. Household size has been shrinking, however. An important reason for this demographic shift in the last twenty years has been the increase in one-person households or people “going solo” (Klinenberg, 2012).
Going Solo Marriage rates among young people have declined in every state The greatest decreases have been in states that have suffered the most from the recent economic downturn In Rhode Island, for example, rising unemployment rates were associated with a sharp drop in the proportion married Source: U.S. Census, American Community Survey, 2011.
Going Solo • Singletons (people who live alone) are a growing and diverse group. • Nevertheless, there are some patterns by • gender • age • race and ethnicity and • geographic location
Going Solo Gender and Age • More women live alone than men • 30 percent of women over age 65 live alone • There are several reasons for these gender differences. • For example, on average, women live about six years longer than men, • And women are less likely than men to remarry after a divorce or widowhood Source: Federal Interagency for Aging Statistics, 2012
Going Solo Regional Location • Singletons tend to cluster in urban areas. • In the past, singles were concentrated in large rural western states • But today, living alone is most common in big cities. • For example, in San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington, D.C.: • 35 to 45 percent of the households have just one person Source: Klinenberg, 2012
Going Solo Race and ethnicity • Of all households, roughly 30 percent of White and African American live alone. • Members of other racial-ethnic groups such as Hispanics, Asian Americans, and Native Americans are more likely to live in extended-family households because of values that emphasize caring for family members and pooling financial resources to avoid poverty Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010
Going Solo What are the pros and cons of living alone?
Going Solo Singletons are a growing and diverse group. What TV shows depict the different types of singles?
Going Solo Summary 50% of Americans are single 1 in 7 live alone This includes never married, divorced, widowed and gays Single people cluster in big cities