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For the First Time, Married People Are No Longer the Majority in the U.S.



First comes love, then comes...what exactly?

For many Americans, neither marriage nor baby carriages will play a factor in their lives, as evidenced by the fact that married Americans are now, for the first time, a minority.

Economist Edward Yardeni recorded that 50.2 percent of the roughly 248 million Americans over the age of 16 were single in August, a "remarkable" figure that made singles the majority for the first time since the government started tracking the information in 1976, Bloomberg reported.

Pulling from Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the economist pointed out that the percentage of never-married U.S. adults has risen from 22.1 percent of the population in 1976 to 30.4 percent last month, while divorced, separated or widowed Americans jumped from 15.3 percent to nearly 20 percent.

Of course, marriage rates have been on a very long decline in the U.S., as the Pew Research Center mapped in 2011. (Note: Pew looked at Americans 18 and older; Yardeni looked at Americans 16 and older.)

Image via Pew Research Center Image source: Pew Research Center

The anti-marriage trend could lead to a demographic crisis, such as what Japan is currently facing, as young people eschew marriage and children in favor of personal pursuits, leaving behind fewer future workers to support the economy after they retire.

In 2013, the U.S fertility rate was around 1.87 children per woman — well below the figure of 2.1 children per woman (over the course of each woman's lifetime) needed for a population to replace itself, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another side effect of the single majority: The "income inequality" figures on so many people's minds could be artificially boosted by comparing a rising number of singles to married households.

“While [singles] have less household earnings than married people, they also have fewer expenses, especially if there are no children in their households,” Yardeni noted.

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