For the first time since the government started keeping these stats, more than half of adult Americans are single. There are about 125 million single Americans, which is just a bit over half of all Americans aged 16 and older.
Bloomberg's Is Everyone Single? nicely covers this shift, including providing the chart below. It shows the steady climb from 37% of adult Americans being single in 1976 to 50.2% today.
The percentage of "never marrieds" has also risen from 22% to 30% over this time frame.
Pew's research memo Record Share of Americans Have Never Married goes deep into this shift, with a focus on those aged 25 and older. Key quote:
This trend cuts across all major racial and ethnic groups but has been more pronounced among blacks. Fully 36% of blacks ages 25 and older had never been married in 2012, up from 9% in 1960. For whites and Hispanics, the share of never-married adults has roughly doubled over that same period. In 2012, 16% of whites and 26% of Hispanics had never been married.
New York Magazine also weighs in on this topic with an article covering a study looking how college students currently think about marriage. The quick summary is: "Americans may have more conflicting, complicated views on marriage than ever before.
This shift is even more pronouned in Europe, as the Guardian's Marriage falls out of favor for young Europeans as austerity and apathy bite points out.
Marriage rates have fallen dramatically in most major European countries over the past decade, as austerity, generational crisis and apathy towards the institution deter record numbers of young people from tying the knot.
The rise of singles and the decline of marriage has broad implications for the economy and society.
Singles, particularly younger ones, are more likely to rent apartments than own houses. They are less likely to have children, buy cars or spend as much on household furnishing. They're also less likely to live in rural or outer suburban areas, preferring instead urban or closer in neighborhoods.
We cover the changing American family, including the rise of singles and the decline of marriage, in more detail in our Demographics section.