Although about the half the total U.S. population is married and the numbers continue to drop, Gallup today reported that only 5% say that they never ever, ever, ever want to tie the knot. About 20% are out there hunting, and the rest are divorced or just disillusioned
These results are based on a June 20-24 Gallup poll, which reports thus: It is not known whether the percentage who don’t want to marry was lower in previous years or decades. But 5% is a low absolute percentage, regardless of what it was in the past.
“Attitudes about marriage are important in the context of a declining marriage rate in the U.S. The Census Bureau reports that the rate of marriage is down, from 9.9 marriages per 1,000 Americans in 1987 to 6.8 in 2011. In addition, researchers at the University of Maryland found that the marriage rate per 1,000 unmarried women fell from 90 in 1950, at the height of the baby boom, to just 31 in 2011.
“There is significant variation across age groups in the four marriage categories, mainly driven by the increase in the “married” or “previously married” percentage as age increases. Nine percent of Americans aged 18 to 34 are unmarried and express no interest in marrying, but 56% of this group is unmarried and does want to get married. This high level of interest in marriage suggests there is little widespread attitudinal aversion to first-time marriage among the nation’s younger unmarried residents.
“Nonwhites in the 18- to 34-year-old age group are significantly less likely than whites of the same age to be married. But 61% of the never-married younger nonwhites want to get married, meaning that 81% of this group is married or wants to be, only slightly lower than the 87% of young whites who are in these two categories.
Young Americans who don’t have a college degree and those with lower incomes are less likely to be married than those with college degrees and higher incomes. Some of this is age-related, because some of those without a college degree are in the lower end of the age segment and are still in college. Even so, these unmarried young Americans with lower levels of education and income are highly likely to say they want to be married.
“Although most Americans are married or would like to get married, less than two-thirds consider it very or somewhat important for a couple to marry if the two want to spend the rest of their lives together or when they want to have a child together. This is down from 2006, the last time Gallup asked about the importance of marriage in this way.
“Fewer than six in 10 Americans who have never been married but want to be say it is important that a couple get married in these circumstances. This suggests that a sizable percentage of Americans who would like to get married still don’t think it is important that they do so. Additionally, younger Americans are significantly less likely than older groups to believe people should marry when making a lifetime commitment or having a child. Americans who have never married but would like to were asked to explain why they were still single. The reasons given are straightforward, including the fact that they have not found the right person or because they are too young, or not ready to get married. Finances are the third-most-frequently mentioned reason, followed by having no time, career considerations, attending school, not trusting people, and the fact that gay marriage is illegal where they live.