More than half of all American adults are single. This week’s surprising news headlines that more than half of all Americans are single raises for many the question, why? What has changed since 1976, when the government first started collecting data on relationships? Nearly 40 years ago, 37.4 percent of the U.S. population was single. As of August of this year, that number has changed to 50.2 percent. Some 124.6 million Americans are on their own, reports the Chicago Tribune on Sept. 10.
“Some 124.6 million Americans were single in August, 50.2 percent of those who were 16 years or older, according to data used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its monthly job-market report. That percentage had been hovering just below 50 percent since about the beginning of 2013 before edging above it in July and August. In 1976, it was 37.4 percent and has been trending upward since.”
Many economists call the new data “remarkable” and express their concern that the trend to being single (individuals who are unmarried, not engaged, or unattached) might have economic, social, and political consequences because single adults are more likely to rent than to own, spend less money, and will choose not to have children.
Many single Americans will agree with the economists’ “remarkable” comment in regard to the new data that shows that more than half of all Americans are single today — but disagree with their point of view. Yes, the economy, society, and politics are three major reasons why anyone would choose to stay single, but not quite for the reasons economists might think.
Economically, the whole “dating business” has gotten out of hand. With ever-increasing prices to take someone out for dinner, to go to a movie, or the high expectations to buy something for someone, why not treat oneself to something nice? Back in 2011, MSN Money reported the annual cost of dating to be around $2,000.
“Dating is expensive. Even if the guy pays for most meals and movies, you still end up buying new clothes, driving all over town, getting your hair cut more often, yadda yadda yadda. And since you never know when you’ll meet someone you like, you never really budget for it. But how much does it actually cost to fall in love? An interesting article entitled The Cost of Love says that one year of meeting and dating someone costs…(quick! Any guesses???)… …between $1,529 and $2,129, depending on your gender. That includes everything from possible online dating or matchmaking services, buying flowers, and purchasing gifts for Valentine’s Day, his/her birthday, and Christmas (we’re talking one full year), etc.”
Socially, the internet has certainly made an impact on lone people not feeling lonely. Just about everything, including companionship, “hooking up,” and fulfilling certain needs are being provided by the internet. Why spend hours of preparation to meet someone or spend tons of money when one can have it (or almost) all at the click of a button?
Politically, and that includes psychologically, the country is in a mess. As for that, some readers’ comments are saying more than what many headlines could cover:
“When government actually punishes those who get married (taxes, reduced benefits, etc.) then this isn’t a surprise. Just further proof of the further decline of this country and removal of moral values and responsibilities.”
“Being single with no kids; everything is GREAT ; I have no mate to be concerned about, I do not have to listen to drama, I do not have to put up with a split personality once a month (if not more when they fake it and yes women do so), I do not have to pay for every single thing, I can live my life the way I want when I want with no conflicts, I can eat, sleep, drink when and consume I want. Yes single life is very good.”
“I love living alone. Don’t have to deal with the drama.”
“Married and divorced once, that was enough for me. Never again! I’m much happier being single and I have money to burn on whatever I want.”
The report, which describes that more than half of all Americans are single and that (for the first time ever) there are more single people walking around the U.S. than there are married ones, might be a concern for economists. However, it is a new kind of “declaration of independence” for single individuals. It is a new kind of declaration of independence by single individuals that is not just found in the U.S. – it is quickly spreading across the globe.