Normal dating range for singles
• • •There is little debate that American adults are far less likely to be married than they were two generations ago.In 1950, married couples represented 78 percent of households in the United States.
Understanding the various facets of the new Singles Nation, it turns out, is key to understanding much about America today.In small-town Minnesota, marriage was just what people did. Today, almost two decades, hundreds of dates, and untold hours on OKCupid later, Ms.Denison, who moved to Boston when she was 26, lives in a far different reality.“There are tons of single people in Boston,” she says.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.For years, the average age at which both men and women first marry has been creeping upward, to 27 for women and 29 for men. In other words, there may at any given moment be more single people who have never been married, but that doesn’t mean that those singles are going to stay that way.
But this seemingly simple demographic explanation belies a huge shift in culture.
Particularly for college graduates, this delay in marriage has ushered in a new phase of life that sociologists are calling “emerging adulthood” or, less charitably, “delayed adolescence.” This is a time when people focus on their careers and their own personal fulfillment, sociologists say: They go out to dinner, work late hours, and make close groups of friends that are sometimes dubbed “urban tribes.” And while there has been some hand-wringing about this, with worries about a lack of maturity among young American adults today, a number of scholars who study singles point out that this group is the antidote to another point of cultural anxiety: the decline in community.
College-educated singles are moving into old downtown buildings and spending money in revitalizing urban centers.
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.
And the number of American adults who have never been married is at a historic high, around 20 percent.