Marriage is losing ground in America. According to the U.S. Census, the proportion of married adults dropped from 57 percent in 2000 to 52 percent in 2009. For the first time ever, single adult women outnumber married adult women in the U.S.
Rebecca Traister says the declining marriage rates among adult women are less about the institution of marriage and more about the choices available to women today.
"The choice not to marry isn't necessarily a conscious rejection of marriage," Traister tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It is [about] the ability to live singly if an appealing marriage option doesn't come along."
In her new book, All the Single Ladies, Traister draws on historical research, interviews with about 100 women and her own experience to examine how delaying or abstaining from marriage affects women's lives. She notes that the shift allows women to build up "our economic and professional bases," which can result in greater autonomy and a more equitable distribution of domestic work in marriage.