For the first time, unmarried couples form the majority of households, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. In the 2010 Census, married couples represent 48 percent of all households, down from 52 percent in the last Census.
The Chicago Tribune identifies two primary causes for this shift. According to Portland State University demographer Charles Rynerson, the U.S. population is aging, and young people are choosing to marry later. As life expectancy has increased by almost 10 years to 78, more among the older population are likely to be divorced or widowed. Second, 20-somethings are prioritizing work and other choices over marriage. The median age for first marriages for men has climbed from 23 to 28 from the 1960s to 2010. For women, the age has crept up from 20 to 26.
The Census Bureau also reported that opposite-sex unmarried couples living together increased by 13 percent to a total of 7.5 million from 2009 to 2010. Utah leads in households made up of married couples with 61%, while Louisiana trails with the second-lowest percent in the nation.