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IPFS News Link • Marriage

A Record Number Of 40-Year-Olds Have Never Been Married

•, by Jane Nguyen

A quarter of 40-year-olds in the United States have never been married, Pew Research reported on June 28. Most lived alone, with just 22 percent of never-married 40- to 44- year-olds living with a romantic partner.

The findings revealed a downward trend of delaying marriage or foregoing it altogether among people born during or after the 1960s, according to the report. In 1980 only 6 percent of 40-year-olds had never been married. That increased by five percentage points per decade until 2021.

The trend is "notable because the share of 40-year-olds who had completed at least a bachelor's degree was much higher in 2021 than in 1980," 39 percent versus 18 percent, said Richard Fry, a Pew senior researcher.

"More-highly educated 40-year-olds are more likely to have married, but the growth of this group has not reversed the overall trend of delaying or forgoing marriage," Fry added.

The Pew report found that 40-year-old men were more likely not to have been married than women in 2021, with 28 percent of men and 22 percent of women falling into this category.

The Pew analysis noted that many unmarried 40-year-olds in previous decades ultimately married later in life. About 1 in 4 of the 40-year-olds who were not yet married in 2001 had wed by the time they turned 60.

If the pattern continues, the research center predicts that "a similar share" of never-married 40-year-olds would also get married in the coming years.