Washington--Bridget Jones was single, at one time.

At one point or another so were Dorothy, Sophia, Rose and Blanche; Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha; and Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna.

All of these well-known women of the big and small screens had the same relationship status that 42 percent of U.S. adults have now, according to a recent examination of census data by the Pew Research Center. 

What Pew discovered is that the number of Americans who are “unpartnered,” meaning those living without a partner, has increased from 39 percent to 42 percent between 2007 (the first year the U.S. Census Bureau began collecting cohabitation data) and 2017.

It is interesting news for an industry that banks so heavily on love and marriage, and is just now starting to wake up to the potential of marketing to women who buy jewelry for themselves.

The sharpest increase in being single was among young adults, those 35 years old and under. That figure rose from 56 percent in 2007 to 61 percent in 2017.

The rise in the number of--to quote Ms. Jones--“singletons” was less marked among other age groups.

It rose from 29 percent to 30 percent among those ages 35 to 54, and from 29 percent to 32 percent in the 55- to 64-year-old age bracket.

And the number of single Americans actually fell among those ages 65 and up, making it more likely for older Americans (55+) to have a spouse or partner than younger adults.
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So why are there more single people in the United States today?

The article doesn’t come to a solid sociological conclusion--are people having trouble finding a mate, or are they simply happily single?--but it does hint that economics has something to do with it.

According to the article, those without a bachelor’s degree are more likely to be unpartnered than those with one, 46 percent versus 31 percent, and the share of single adults has risen more sharply among those who are not employed over the past 10 years.

Pew also shared some interesting data about the living arrangements for, and past relationships of, those who are currently single.

Among partnered adults, 58 percent have never been married, while 21 percent are divorced, 14 percent are widowed and the remaining 7 percent are either separated or married without a spouse present in the household.

Thirty-five percent of single adults live alone, 22 percent live with others in the home but are still head of the household (single parents are in this category), 28 percent live with a parent or grandparent (this would include many of the younger single adults mentioned above) and 16 percent live with a sibling or roommate.

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