“It’s just the opposite of the stereotype.”Quite often, she says, single people realize that they enjoy living without a spouse.“People used to think of single life as where you mark time until you get married,” she says. It’s the real thing.”• • • But the definition of “single” is a bit vague. And that leaves plenty of room for different family structures. So is Sarah Wright, the board chair of a singles’ advocacy group called Unmarried Equality, who lives with a longtime partner.“I do not describe myself as ‘single’ because I’m not,” Ms. “I am coupled.” When she gets government forms asking for her marital status, she crosses off all the responses and writes in “none.”Tara Dublin of Portland, Ore., is officially single, even though she was married for years.But even outside cities, there is a distinct rise of the “single.” Almost half of new births are to unmarried mothers.The number of parents living together but not married has tripled.
In 1950, married couples represented 78 percent of households in the United States.
Four in 10 Americans went ever further, telling Pew researchers in 2010 that marriage was becoming obsolete.
In short, academics say, American society is in the midst of a fundamental social and demographic shift, the “greatest social change of the last 60 years that we haven't already named and identified,” according to New York University sociologist Eric Klinenberg. Klinenberg's full quote.] It is a shift that goes well beyond the dynamics of relationships, affecting everything from housing and health care to child rearing and churches.
And it is singles, not marrieds, who are the most active in their communities.
“When people get married, they have less contact with their friends, their siblings, their neighborhood,” De Paulo says, adding that studies show this is true even with people who are married and don’t have children.