Pew Research released a study showing only 51% of adults aged 18+ are married. This is down from 72% in 1960.
The Pew chart below illustrates the steady decline in marriage in the U.S.
One indicator that this trend is unlikely to turn around is the study finding that 40% of adults under 40 see marriage as an obsolete social environment.
The Week (a must read publication if you are interested in trends) has a nice summary of the study coverage. It explains why this is happening (increases in average marriage age, the economy, etc.), but ends with a somewhat upbeat view on the future of marriage.
JWT also covers this with their trend "Marriage Optional". They have an interesting interview with the author of the book Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters and How to Stop It. The main part of the interview is about how the increase in choices for women is leading to a reduction in marriage.
So what’s different now is that women can have sex without having children, they can have children without having sex, and they can get a job that supports themselves and maybe even some kids, so they are not tethered to a husband for economic life support. And all those big, big changes mean that women can, if they want to, live full, complete lives outside of marriage.
The Decline of Marriage is a very important social trend. The assumption of marriage ripples through our society and many of our social, economic,and business institutions and assumptions are based on a world where most people are married.
Obviously these institutions and assumptions are going to have to change.