Monday, October 16, 2006
Statistics on marriage, same-sex couples, and the never married
Sam Roberts has a story on p A14 of the Oct. 15, 2006 New York Times, “It’s Official: To Be Married Means to be Outnumbered: Data Suggests that More Couples are Waiting.”
According to the Census Bureau, 49.7% of the U.S.’s 111.1 million households in 2005 comprised legally married (heterosexual) couples. In 2000 the percentage had been 52%.
There were 413,000 male couple households, and 363,000 female couple households. This is about 0.7% of the households. In San Francisco, about 2% of the couples were same-sex couples. Presumably these are the households than can benefit from domestic partnership or civil union or even gay marriage legislation. These percentages sound much lower than what I would have expected.
Presumably, a lot of households consist of never married, divorced, and widowed adults. This would include the majority if gays and lesbians (and some transgendered).
According to Penn State, 5% of elderly adults have never been married. (“The never married elderly: what do we know?”) I do recall that singleness and childlessness of other adults was much more common in the 50s than people probably realize today. The link is this.
According to a Cox New Service report from Nov 2005, 44% of all adults have never been married. The story is by Katherine Heine: “Has marriage lost its luster?”
The story also reports that 40% of unmarried couple households have children.
This is some of what the gay marriage battle must deal with.