Median household income is $86,000 for married or cohabiting adults, but $61,000 for the unpartnered
Call it America’s conscious uncoupling.
A growing proportion of U.S. adults is living without a partner or spouse, according to a new analysis by Pew Research, with the sharpest increase coming from the under-35 crowd. About 42% of Americans are “unpartnered” today, compared to 39% in 2007.
Affecting these numbers are the marriage rate, which has declined over the last several decades, and an increase in the rate of cohabiting relationships (29% over the last 10 years) — though the latter hasn’t been sizable enough to offset the former.
Changes in un-partnership varied by demographic: For adults under 35, the share increased from 56% to 61% over the decade; it only rose from 29% to 30% for those aged 35 to 54, and 29% to 32% for ages 55 to 64. For the 65-and-over group, the share of adults living sans spouse or partner dipped slightly from 43% to 41%.
It’s “surprising” that the overall unpartnered share increased in the context of America’s aging population, the report noted, since older folks are more likely than younger ones to be married or partnered.
Meanwhile, women were more likely than men to be unpartnered (43% vs. 40%), and Hispanic and black adults were more likely than white and Asian adults (46% and 62% vs. 37% each, respectively).
This phenomenon could hit bank accounts: Adjusted median household income for married or cohabiting adults is $86,000, per Pew, compared to $61,000 for the unpartnered. Singles — even those in their mid-50s to early 60s — are also less likely than married people to have retirement savings, according to a 2016 Economic Policy Institute report. Sixty-five percent of married couples in 2013 boasted retirement account savings, in contrast to between 42% and 43% of single women and men, respectively.
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