Fully 28% of households now have just one person living in them, more than double the rate from 1960 (13%), reports the US Census Bureau. As a result of continued shifts in household types and family dynamics, the average household size is 2.53 this year, down from 3.3 some 50 years ago.
Single person households aren’t just restricted to youth. In fact, almost one-third (29%) of adults aged 65 and older live alone. In a fairly dramatic shift, householders aged 65 and older outnumber those under the age of 30 by almost a 2:1 ratio (31 million and 15.8 million, respectively), whereas these householders had been at virtual parity in the late 1970s. (Households are occupied housing units, and householders are the people in whose name the housing units is rented or owned. They must be at least 15 years of age.)
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The Census Bureau report contains several other interesting statistics about households and family arrangements, highlighted below.
- – Hispanic householders now make up 13% of US householders, on par with Black householders, with there being slightly more Hispanic (16.7 million) than Black (16.5 million) households;
- – More than two-thirds (69%) of children under the age of 18 live in families with two parents, though that’s down from 88% in 1960;
- – The median age at which men are first married has increased from 23.7 in 1947 to 29.5 this year, with the increase even more pronounced for women (from 20.5 to 27.4);
- – Almost 1 in 3 (32% of) adults have never been married as of this year, up from fewer than one-quarter (23%) in 1947;
- – There are now more than 8 million opposite-sex couples living together without being married, up from 2.9 million in 1996; and
- – Married households comprise less than half of all households, as the number of non-family households continues to rise.