For young people, the idea of marriage still holds considerable charm. A 2006 poll showed that more than 80 percent of American high school seniors expect to get married, and 90 percent of those assume they’ll remain wed to the same person for life. A survey of college students in England found 95 percent want to marry. Among adults who have never been married, 61 percent want to be, according to a Pew poll from 2010.
But dreams of marriage are failing to materialize for more and more of these people. In 1960, 72 percent of American adults were married; today, that number has dropped to 51 percent. In 1960, 15 percent had never married; today it’s 28 percent. In 1970, four in five 25-to-29-year-old men were married; now, two in five are.