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

A quarter of 40-year-olds in the United States have never been married, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center.

As Statista’s Anna Fleck reports, this marks the highest figure since the data first started being published back in 1900, and a major leap from the 6 percent low of 1980.

But interestingly, it isn’t just a case of more people cohabiting without getting married: Analysts found that many of the adults surveyed in 2021 were living alone, with just 22 percent of those who had never married between the ages of 40-44 reporting that they were living with a partner.

Looking at a breakdown of the 2021 data by different demographic groups, men were more likely to be unmarried by 40 than women, at 28 percent and 22 percent, respectively.

A slightly higher share of Black U.S. adults (46 percent) reported not having married by that age versus Hispanic (27 percent), white (20 percent) or Asian (17 percent) adults.

In terms of education, 40-year-olds who didn’t finish a four-year college degree were more likely to have never married than those who completed at least a bachelor’s degree.

The general increase of people who are still single by 40 suggests that there has been a shift in sentiments on the importance of marriage.

Pew Research Center analysts also highlight how people aged over 40 of course do often get married too, with around one in four 40 year olds who had not married in 2001 having done so by age 60.


Source: Pew Research Center, U.S. Census Bureau, Statista