Who said the Census is a waste of time? Oh, no one? Okay, well here’s more reason to approve of its really accurate depiction of the American life through numbers.
The U.S. Census Bureau has found that in 2011, 44% of the U.S. adult population was single (unmarried, divorced, or widowed).
Why is this a big deal, you may ask?
Because due to all the single ladies and men putting their hands up, there’s now a whole freakin’ week celebrating being single, appropriately named Unmarried and Single Americans Week. While the tradition of recognizing those flying solo began in Ohio in the 1980’s, this is the first time it’s being nationally regarded as a reason to party.
In 2011, the Bureau reported that single, unmarried Americans were split almost down the middle, with 53% being women and 47% being men. The Bureau’s thorough number crunching revealed that for every 89 available men in the nation, there were 100 women, and that “55 million households maintained by unmarried men” making up “about 46% of households nationwide”. The report also stated that people living alone made up 28% of all households and that there were 6.8 million households with unmarried partners, of that, 593,000 were same-sex.
Marriage has been the long-standing “next step” in an antiquated definition of a relationship, but for some it isn’t even on their radar, let alone programmed into their path of dating. The feeling that this union of two people is more culturally sanctioned than anything else very well may be the last gasping breath of an age where marriage defined the “natural” evolution of a relationship from juvenile to maturity. Tying the knot has never actually been a requirement of love, contrary to years of harsh criticisms of the unmarried and the inflection of the “spinster”. Unmarried and Single Americans Week brings people together and celebrates both those who are in relationships but aren’t legally bound to each other and those who aren’t bitter and angsty about being single (or those who are).
The inception of Unmarried and Single Americans Week feels like the new “next step” in the acceptance of alternative love lives, especially because the highest percent of reported single Americans, at 62%, have never been married at all, with divorcees (24%) and widows/widowers (14%) lagging far behind in the rankings. The appreciation for those who aren’t getting hitched is an amazing advancement in the push for social approval of people with different values when it comes to love.
While this “celebratory” week may seem superfluous, it’s perfect for those who aren’t too keen on their solo status. This week sort of recognizes that you are, in fact, not alone in a relationship-endowed universe. Don’t get me wrong, being single can really suck, but when you realize that you’re far from the only single person in America, and that there’s an entire week dedicated to getting your ass off the couch and face out of the ice cream carton, things seem a lot better.
Sometimes, all you need to do when all your friends are getting married is celebrate a little bit, because maybe they’re the ones missing out.