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Just About Half of Adult Americans Are Currently Married

by Darren K. Carlson

But only about one-fifth have never been married


PRINCETON, NJ – Just about one-half of the U.S. adult population is currently married, about 20% have never been married, while the rest are either living with a partner, divorced or separated, or widowed. As Americans age, marriage becomes more and more the norm; only a very small number of older Americans say they have never been married. Over a third of those living in low-income households are separated or divorced, a much higher percentage than is the case in high-income households.

The latest Gallup poll offers a snapshot into the marital status of Americans today. Currently, 51% of the adult population – age 18 and older – say they are married, and another 7% indicate they are living together with a partner. On the flip side, 14% of the American public says they are either separated or divorced. Finally, 8% of Americans are widowed, and another 18% claim to have never been married.

Not surprisingly, the majority of those who have never been married fall into the 18-29 year old age range. Fifty-four percent of that group says they have never been "down the aisle"; a percentage that drops to 13% for 30-49 year olds and just 4% for those over age 50. It is also evident that economics may play a part in the success or failure of a marriage. Just 5% of those living in households with an income of $50,000 or more say they are currently separated or divorced. At the other extreme, 38% of those who live in households with less than $20,000 in income say they are separated or divorced.

Eighteen percent of all men 18 years of age and older have never been married, compared to 17% of women. On the other hand, 12% of women are currently widowed, compared to just 3% of men.

Survey Methods

The results below are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,001 adults, 18 years and older, conducted January 10-14, 2000. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Which of the following best describes your marital status: currently married, living together with a partner, widowed, divorced, separated or never married?




Living together with a partner




Never married








2001 Jan 10-14








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