LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — More couples are saying “I don’t” to marriage, choosing to live together instead of tying the knot.

Recent data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows married couples represent 48 percent of all households. That’s down from 52 percent in the last Census and, for the first time in U.S. history, puts households led by married couples as a plurality.

The flip in the 2010 Census happened in 32 states. In another seven states, less than 51 percent of households were helmed by married couples.

The reason, said Portland State University demographer Charles Rynerson, is twofold: The fast-growing older population is more likely to be divorced or widowed later in life, and 20-somethings are putting off their nuptials for longer stretches.

Money may also be a driving force for why people in their 20s choose to postpone marriage.

“We lived together and we saved up,” Echo Gardner told CBS2/KCAL9’s Suzanne Marques.

Marques spoke with the couple, who say they lived together for a year before deciding to get married.

“We had to make sure, ‘hey this is what we want’ and it worked out, we got married and we’re happy, you know,” David Gardner said.

The data supports that, as the Census Bureau reported last year that opposite-sex unmarried couples living together jumped 13 percent from 2009 to 7.5 million.

In addition, fears of not being able to hang onto a job, a widening labor market for women and a shift away from having kids at a young age have all proved to be a disincentive for people in their 20s and early 30s to join the ranks of the married.

We’re also living longer, with an average life expectancy of 78 years, nearly a decade longer than in the 1960s.

To reflect the changing attitudes on marriage, the Census Bureau has broadened the definition of family this year to include unmarried couples, such as same-sex partners, as well as foster children who are not related by blood or adoption.

And attitudes on marriage are changing, too. About 39 percent of Americans say marriage is becoming obsolete, according to a Pew Research Center study published in November, up from 28 percent in 1978.

“Back in the 60s, 50s, 40s people valued marriage more than they do now and if you grow up in broken homes and that’s all you see, then that’s all you know,” David Gardner said.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (6)
  1. brian says:


  2. Marty says:

    Hey, Men and women do NOT get along anymore as each are on a different page for sure. The old saying that each is from a different planet is turning out to be true!!

  3. sandra says:

    Our nation is becoming desensitized towards something that God instituted. I can only pray that the older married couples learn to honor their vows and be the example for the younger generation. I pray younger couples do what is right in God’s sight.

    Hebrews 13:4

  4. frank says:

    a practical approach to me in advocating for men is to focus on discouraging all men from
    ever getting married
    and to disourage them from ever having children at all….in other words a total marriage
    strike, ….. and fatherhood strike….. with a massive campaign to convince all men
    to get vasectomies
    as they reach their late teens…. in addition promoting the massive use of sperm banks would
    also eliminate
    more men from the slavery of marraige and fatherhood….women have been liberated from the
    shackles of marriage..
    now it is time to finally phase out the last vestiges of slavery in this country by liberating men…

    there are reforms that might help a little but in general radical problems like the divorce bias
    in my opinion require radical solutions….in general i could support any reform effort that results
    in fewer men getting married,and results in fewer men fathering children at all…

    after much thought i do think one reform might help this cause…..a popular movement
    MARRIAGE…in addition to a marriage license,witnesses,etc…..further every
    agreement must include warnings of the massive loss of money..freedom….
    legal rights…and the other sometimes fatal health risks…….associated with marriage in the
    of divorce…..
    bottom line…it is important that each party know the potentially fatal risks
    of marriage the same as required to make cigarette companies list the potentially fatal risks
    of cigarette smoking…..that can result in poverty,affliction,disease and death……
    all related to marriage and divorce….


    No fan of marriage or fatherhood in the usa

    PS: the worst job in the world is being a father in the usa…..the 2nd worst job in the world is
    working in a sewer like ed norton in ‘the honeymooners’…….

  5. Jim says:

    My view on marriage is that it is a business contract between 2 people governed by the State holding 2 people accountable instead of being individuals.
    Ultimately it creates revenue not only to issue a “marriage certificate”. But it also creates revenue for lawyers… Seriously…If we don’t get married then we don’t have to go throw all the BS of getting divorced if things don’t work out. Which is growing more and more according to statistics. If you don’t get married then whatever is yours you get to keep, whatever is mine I get to keep!
    Child custody is a separate issue!
    Not sure about this part but I don’t believe it says in any Bible that you have to go down to city hall to get a license to get married! hahaha

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