Number of Americans Living without a Partner Increases

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the share of adults living without a spouse or partner has increased to 42 percent in 2017 from 39 percent in 2007. The Pew Research Center identifies two important demographic trends that have influenced this development: the number of married adults has fallen and the number of adults living with a romantic partner has grown.

Pew researchers assert that while the share of U.S. adults living with a partner has risen, it has not done so enough to counterbalance the decrease in marriage, thus giving way to an increase of “unpartnered” Americans.

% of adults living without a spouse or partner, by age

Ages 2007 2017
All adults 39% 42%
<35 years 56% 61%
35-54 29% 30%
55-64 29% 32%
65+ 43% 41%

Pew also recognizes divorce as a contributor to the rise of “unpartnered” adults, which plays a leading role in a person’s financial security. The median household income of married or cohabitating adults is $86,000, compared to the $61,000 household income for adults living without a partner or spouse. “Unpartnered” adults are also over twice as likely to be living in poverty (17% vs. 7%).

Pew researchers emphasize that “unpartnered” adults are “disproportionately” young, as 28 percent of them live with either a parent or grandparent. This reflects the trend among the young generation to postpone marriage later than their elders.

As millennials age, they may offset this trend and increase the share of married or cohabitating adults, which could usher in increasing buying power leading to active consumers and a higher number of homebuyers taking advantage of the financial benefits of cohabitation.

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