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Fewer Married Households and More Living Alone

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The share of adults living without children has climbed 19 points since 1967 to 71.3 percent.

The biggest change in the last five decades comes from the decline in married households -- down to 44 percent -- and the rise in householders living alone (20 percent) or with a partner (8 percent).

In 1967, 59 percent of adults who lived without their own children lived with a spouse. Another 11 percent identified as a child of the householder, and 14 percent as living in some other arrangement, such as with a boarder or roommate. In addition, 14 percent lived alone, and less than 1 percent lived with an unmarried partner.

Delaying marriage is related to delaying childbirth. The median age at first marriage has gone from 20.6 to 27.4 for women and from 23.1 to 29.6 for men since 1967. Age at first birth increased as well. Most babies are born to a married couple, so it is natural to see shifts in the percentage of adults who live with no children in particular age groups.

The largest change in the proportion of adults living without children happened among those aged 18 to 35. In 1967, the majority of 18- to 24-year-olds had children living with them (53.3 percent) but by 2016, less than a third did (31.2 percent).

The changes are even more dramatic among 25- to 34-year-olds. In 1967, 23.9 percent in that age group did not have their own children under their roof. By 2016, the share more than doubled to 61.5 percent.

Emily Schondelmyer is a survey statistician with Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division at the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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