Changing attitudes towards marriage means that the number of American adults who have never married is at all time high, according to new data from Pew Research Center.
In 2012, one in five adults over 25 have never been married.
This is around 42m people in the US.
In comparison, in 1960, around one in ten adults over 25 had never married.
Pew posits a few potential reasons for this: that adults are simply marrying later in life – and perhaps dating for longer – and that people are having and raising children outside of marriage.
When asked about why they hadn’t married, 30% said they had not found the right person, and 27% said they were not “financially prepared” for marriage.
The median age of first marriage is 27 for women, and 29 for men.
In 1960, it was 20 for women, and 23 for men.
Looking at some of the racial groups, Pew found that 36% of blacks aged 25 and older have never married – a huge increase from 9% in 1960.
In 2012, 16% of whites and 26% of Hispanics had never been married.
Researchers Wendy Wang and Kim Parker said in their report: “Recent survey data from the Pew Research Center finds a public that is deeply divided over the role marriage plays in society.
“Survey respondents were asked which of the following statements came closer to their own views: Society is better off if people make marriage and having children a priority, or society is just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children. Some 46% of adults chose the first statement, while 50% chose the second.”
When asked about marriage, 53% of never-married adults said they would like to marry eventually. This share is down from 2010, when 61% said they would like to marry someday.
And according to their projections, Pew think that when today’s adults hit their mid-40s to mid-50s, a record high share (25%) is likely to have never been married.
The research comes from a survey of 2,003 adults, who were asked about their views on marriage.
View the full study here.