Households Don't Look Like They Used To

Lydia Saad  |   June 10, 2015

Young adults are key to boosting future household formation, but those households may look different than in previous generations. With declining marriage rates, households headed by married couples may no longer dominate the landscape.

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The number of 30-somethings who are married has fallen about 10 percent in the last decade, while the percentage of unmarried couples living together has nearly doubled from 7 percent to 13 percent, according to Gallup Analytics. The percentage of young adults who are single and live alone has also increased sharply, from 52 percent in 2004 to 64 percent in 2014.

Most notably, the "rise of singledom," as Gallup calls it, is most evident among 18- to 29-year-olds. The number of people in that age range who are single and living alone has risen from 52 percent in 2004 to 64 percent in 2014. Among 30- to 39-year-olds, the number has increased from 15 percent to 19 percent in the same period.

"It is widely known that fewer young people today are getting married. But Gallup's data reveal that young adults are not simply swapping marriage for living together, but rather staying single longer," Gallup's report notes. "This doesn't necessarily mean young adults are staying out of relationships, just that they are less likely to be making the more serious commitment associated with moving in together — whether in marriage or not."

Gallup's report notes "the important question for society is whether the dramatic shift in living arrangements seen among 20-somethings persists into their 30s, furthering the revolution in U.S. household and family structure."

Source: Gallop