A record 35% of American adults ages 25 to 50 have never been married according to a new research brief from the Institute for Family Studies that predicts that the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a further decline.
The brief prepared by IFS Director of Research Wendy Wang explains that there has been a 14% increase in the number of Americans who have never been married from 2000 to 2018.
She pointed out that the trend is particularly stark among lower-income Americans.
While marriages today are generally more stable compared to the 1980s, a significant proportion of married couples are made up of individuals who earn more than $50,000 a year and are likely to be better educated.
In 2018, among adults 25 to 50, the threshold for lower-income was $20,000 per year, middle income was between $20,000 and $50,000 and higher-income was more than $50,000.
Among Americans who have never been married, 42% were classified as lower-income. Meanwhile, only 23% of Americans among the higher income group were never married.
Wang noted that this disparity in marriage by income did not exist in 1970 when 7% of Americans ages 25 to 50 were single, working-class and poor but just as likely to enter marriage as more affluent Americans.
The disparity began in the 1990s and has grown worse since 2000, according to Wang.
“This stark contrast in marriage formation across income lines may further widen the income gap and affect income mobility,” Wang wrote. “Marriage is about love and commitment, but it also offers economic benefits to couples. When couples live under one roof and pool incomes, this can be a significant saving in living expenses.”
Between 2000 and 2018, the share of employed adults ages 25 to 50 in the lower-third income bracket dropped from 51% to 46%. The employment rate among Americans aged 25 to 50 in the top-third income bracket increased from 95% to 98%.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair