A Nation of Singles at The Weekly Standard is a fascinating article about the long term implications of a growing number of single people in America and a decline of marriage as a cultural institution.
Speaking demographically and numerically, singles are much more prominent than Hispanics, but to admit that would defeat the key “pandering to Hispanics” messaging of the Democratic Party and in the media:
Singles broke decisively for Obama. Though his margins with them were lower than they were in 2008, he still won them handily: Obama was +16 among single men and +36 with single women. But the real news wasn’t how singles broke—it was that their share of the total vote increased by a whopping 6 percentage points. To put this in some perspective, the wave of Hispanic voters we’ve heard so much about increased its share of the total vote from 2008 to 2012 by a single point, roughly 1.27 million voters. Meanwhile, that 6 percentage point increase meant 7.6 million more single voters than in 2008. They provided Obama with a margin of 2.9 million votes, about two-thirds of his margin of victory. Back in 2010, Teixera noted that 47 percent of all women are now unmarried, up from 38 percent in 1970. “Their current size in the voter pool—more than a quarter of eligible voters—is nearly the size of white evangelical Protestants, who are perhaps the GOP’s largest base group,” he writes. “And since the current growth rate of the population of unmarried women is relatively high (double that of married women), the proportion of unmarried women in the voting pool should continue to increase.” In the medium run, he’s almost certainly correct.
How did we get to an America where half of the adult population isn’t married and somewhere between 10 percent and 15 percent of the population don’t get married for the first time until they’re approaching retirement? It’s a complicated story involving, among other factors, the rise of almost-universal higher education, the delay of marriage, urbanization, the invention of no-fault divorce, the legitimization of cohabitation, the increasing cost of raising children, and the creation of a government entitlement system to do for the elderly childless what grown children did for their parents through the millennia.
But read the whole thing. This is a trend we should all understand better.