Re: Question for the Information Diva
Sat, 15 Aug 1998 15:18:26 -0500 (EST)

>What percentage of the american population never gets married? Perhaps by
>a certain age, by sex, by country, whatever. Megan and I think that way
>less than 10% never get married, but that the percentage is increasing.

I found the answer to this one in less than 5 minutes, but didn't
have time to respond at work yesterday. Although this question could
have probably been answered by visiting the Census Website or using
a search engine, my experience as a reference librarian means that
I know the quickest to find stats such as these is to consult
a print source. Reliable print sources with proper indexing are
still (in some cases) the best resource for an Information Diva
such as myself. It is all a matter of knowing which print source
is appropriate and the keywords to use when consulting the index.

In this case, I turned immediately to one of my all time favourite
reference sources: "Statistical Abstract of the United States".
We keep a copy at the Reference Desk within arms reach because
we tend to consult it so often. We have a CD-ROM version (that has
a lousy search interface and runs slower than molasses) and
some of the data can be found on various government sites, but for
comprehensive coverage and easy searching it is the print version
that still rules amongst librarians.

Without further ado, I present to you my answer -- one which was
culled from a series of 3 tables found in:

"Statistical Abstracts of the United States 1997: The National Data
Book" 117th edition. Produced by U.S. Dept. of Commerce (Bureau
of the Census).
ISBN: 0-934213-51-8

Table 58: Marital Status of the Population By Race
(includes those under 18)

Never Married (all races)
1996 23.3%
1990 22.2%
1980 20.3%

Never Married (White)
1996 20.7%

Never Married (Black)
1996 39.2%

Never Married (Hispanic)
1996 30.2%

Table 59: Marital Status of the Population, by Sex and Age (1996)

Never Married

18-19 years 97.6%
20-24 years 81.0%
25-29 years 52.0%
30-34 years 29.6%
35-39 years 20.8%
40-44 years 14.2%
45-54 years 8.1%
55-64 years 5.0%
75+ years 3.3%

18-19 years 92.2%
20-24 years 68.5%
25-29 years 37.6%
30-34 years 20.5%
35-39 years 13.1%
40-44 years 9.7%
45-54 years 6.3%
55-64 years 4.7%
75+ years 4.4%

Table 60: Marital Status of the Population -- Projections

Year 2000

Never Married (by age)
18-24 years 79.7%
25-34 years 33.0%
35-44 years 13.2%

Females over 18 Never Married 18.8%
Males over 18 Never Married 25.0%

Year 2010

Never Married (by age)
18-24 years 81.1%
25-34 years 36.6%
35-44 years 14.7%

Females over 18 Never Married 19.6%
Males over 18 Never Married 25.7%

There are dozens of other tables in the Statistical Abstracts
that will give you data about Median Ages of People getting
Married, Divorces and Annulments (from 1970-1990), Number of
Unmarried Couples with children, etc... If you love statistics
and want to get a "snapshot" of the current US population or
an idea of population trends over time, then this is
a book worth looking at. Every library will have multiple
copies (this I guarantee). We have copies going back to
1895 in our collection!


p.s./ When I get some spare time, I am going to cut and paste together
the answers I got from my query regarding "withdrawal" from the
male perspective. Responses will be kept completely anonymous.
If you want, it is not too late to send me your viewpoint on this
topic.... Oh, and if you don't want me to include your response
(even though it will be anonymous) just let me know.