2006_10_15_couple.jpg

Oh, how we love census data! Where would we be today if we didn't know that "the share of households with married couples in the United States dipped to a historic low of 49.7 percent in 2005?" That knowledge changes everything. Well, actually no, not really. But it is interesting.

Though the total number of married couples is higher than ever (55.2 million), and "most Americans eventually marry," more and more adults are choosing to stay either single or to cohabitate unmarried with their partners. According to the Times "the potential social and economic implications are profound." A demographer at Queens College explained the shift like this:

“You used to get married to have sex. Now one of the major reasons to get married is to have children, and the attractiveness of having children has declined for many people because of the cost.”

That's all well and good, you say, but you want some numbers too? Fine, here: One in 20 of the 111.1 million households in the US consist of people living alone. About 5.2 million households are made up of unmarried opposite-sex partners (up 14% since 2000), 413,000 households are male couples (up 24% since 2000), and 363,000 are female couples (up 12% since 2000).

And yet, we feel like the wedding invitations never seem to stop...

Sleeping Couple on the Boardwalk by lornagirl via Contribute.