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How Many Unmarried People Want to Be Married? How Many Want to Stay Single?

How Many Want to Stay Single?

“There are some things in life you can never be prepared for. One of them is your daughter getting married.” That’s my paraphrase of a TV ad in which a man sits in his car and contemplates his daughter’s wedding. You know what that man really would not be prepared for? A daughter who had no interest in ever getting married.

In popular culture, single people are often depicted as desperately seeking coupledom, if they are not already coupled and contemplating marriage. Sadly, many scholarly writings seem to be built on the same assumption that just about all unmarried people want to be married.

How accurate is that belief?

One way to look at this is simply to count the number of people who are not married. In 2016, 110.6 million Americans were unmarried (divorced or widowed or never married). That’s 45.2 percent of all adults 18 and older. It was a record high.

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