More US Adults Live Without a Romantic Partner

Nepal, the sole country in the Indian subcontinent to legalize same-sex unions, recently marked a historic moment by officially recognizing the marriage of a queer couple. This landmark decision follows an interim order by the Supreme Court in June, permitting the registration of same-sex marriages. Maya Gurung, a 35-year-old transgender woman, and Surendra Pandey, a 27-year-old cisgender male, who have been together for nearly a decade, sought legal recognition of their union, culminating in the formal registration of their marriage in the Lamjung district of western Nepal.

The American adults, who are more into living relationships and living arrangements, are living without a romantic partner. In the last 30 years, the number of adults living without partners have increased and about four-in-ten adults aged 25 to 54 were unpartnered (neither married nor living with a partner) in 2019, said the report from PEW Research Centre.

The report mentioned that men are now more likely than women to be unpartnered, which was not the case 30 years ago. The Pew Centre said that unpartnered population included adults who were previously married (separated, divorced or widowed). However, the report mentioned that the growth in unpartnered population since 1990 came from a rise in the number who have never been married.

The PEW Centre said that the increase in single population was driven mainly by declining in marriage among the adults who are at prime working age. It also says that there was a rise in people who are cohabiting, but it hasn’t been enough to offset the drop in marriage – hence the overall decline in partnership.. The trend also divides the growing gap in well-being between partnered and unpartnered adults.


With respect to economic and social status, the report said that unpartnered adults generally have different – often worse – outcomes than those who are married or cohabiting. This pattern is apparent among both men and women. Unpartnered adults have lower earnings, on average, than partnered adults and are less likely to be employed or economically independent. They also have lower educational attainment and are more likely to live with their parents. The report stated that the gaps in economic outcomes between unpartnered and partnered adults widened since 1990. Among men, the gaps are widening because unpartnered men are faring worse than they were in 1990. Among women, however, these gaps have gotten wider because partnered women are faring substantially better than in 1990.


The share of adults ages 25 to 54 who are currently married fell from 67 per cent in 1990 to 53 per cent in 2019, while the share cohabiting more than doubled over that same period (from 4% in 1990 to 9% in 2019). The share who have never been married has also grown – from 17% to 33%. All of this has resulted in a significant increase in the share who are unpartnered.

The growth in unpartnered adults has been sharper among men than women. In 1990, men and women ages 25 to 54 were equally likely to be unpartnered (29% of each group). By 2019, 39% of men were unpartnered, compared with 36% of women, the PEW report stated. Among adults ages 25 to 54, the median age of those who are unpartnered was 36 in 2019; this compares with 40 among partnered adults. In respect of differences by race and ethnicity, the report says 59% of Black adults in 25 to 54 age group were unpartnered in 2019. This is higher than the shares among Hispanic (38%), White (33%) and Asian (29%) adults. For most racial and ethnic groups, men are more likely than women to be unpartnered. The exception is among Black adults, where women (62%) are more likely to be unpartnered than men (55%). The report also looked at differences in nativity. It found that foreign born adults at prime working age were less likely (28 per cent) to be unpartnered in 2019 than their native-born peers (40 per cent). They said that 29 per cent of foreign-born Hispanic adults were single, compared with 46 percent of native-born Hispanic adults.


The PEW centre finds that the unpartnered adults fare differently than partnered adults in education, employment or living arrangements. With respect to educational attainment, the report stated that 26 per cent of unpartnered prime-working-age men had completed at least a bachelor’s degree in 2019. This markedly trails the 37% of partnered men who had finished college. Similarly, 33% of unpartnered women in 2019 had finished at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 43% of partnered women.

The economic outcomes of prime-working-age men differ substantially by partnership status. In 2019, 73% of men without a partner were employed, compared with 91% of partnered men. The gap in employment among women, which is more modest, goes in the opposite direction: 77% of single women held a job in 2019, compared with 74% of women with a partner. In 2019, the median earnings of men without a partner were 35,600 dollars, lagging far behind those of partnered men ($57,000).4 Unpartnered women also trail their partnered counterparts in median earnings (32,000 dollars and 40,000 dollars, respectively).


About three-in-ten unpartnered men (31 per cent) lived in home of at least one of their parents in 2019. Among men who were married or cohabiting, only two per cent of them resided in the home of their parent(s). About a quarter (24 percent) of unpartnered women lived with at least one parent in 2019 (compared with only two pewr cent of partnered women). As of 2019, the report finds that five percent of unpartnered men resided in institutionalized group quarters. The share of women who were living in an institutional setting (whether they are partnered or not) was extremely low – 1% for unpartnered and fewer than 1% for partnered women. children unpartnered adults are much less likely than partnered adults to have a child of their own in their household.  Eighit per cent among unpartnered men lived with a child of their own in 2019. Among partnered men, 61 per cent were living with at least one child. The gap is smaller among women: Roughly a third of unpartnered women (32%) lived with at least one child compared with 60% of partnered women.


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