Number of US households with married couple and children has fallen to record low


Number of US households with married couple and children has fallen to record low, down 40% since 1970s, and homes with ‘nuclear families’ are lowest since 1959

  • The Census Bureau’s count showed that 17.8 percent of the United States’ 130 million households featured married parents with children under the age of 18 
  • That’s only down from 18.6 percent from last year but down much more significantly from over 40 percent in 1970 
  • There are currently just 23.1 million American homes with those ‘nuclear families,’ which is the fewest since 1959 
  • The reasons given for the drop include the pandemic delaying marriage and a continued decline in birth rate 


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The number of homes in America with the traditional ‘nuclear family’ of a married couple with children is now at a record low, according to Census data. 

The Census Bureau’s count showed that 17.8 percent of the United States’ 130 million households featured married parents with children under the age of 18. 

That’s only down from 18.6 percent from last year but down much more significantly from over 40 percent in 1970.

There are currently just 23.1 million American homes with those ‘nuclear families,’ which is the fewest since 1959.

The reasons given for the drop include the pandemic delaying marriage and a continued decline in birth rate. 

Census data shows that the number of American households with a traditional ‘nuclear family’ of a married couple and children was about half of where it was in 1970


There are currently just 23.1 million American homes with those ‘nuclear families,’ which is the fewest since 1959

The average age of a woman at her first marriage is now 28.6 years. In the 1950s and 60s, women typically married at 20.4 years old. 

The average age for men to marry for the first time in 2021 was 30.4 years old. 

America’s fertility rate dropped to 55.4 births per 1,000 in the second quarter of 2021, down from 58.5 in the same period of 2019. 

Americans are also living alone at a higher rate than they used to.

The percentage of adults in the US living with a spouse was 50 percent, down from 52 percent 10 years ago.   

Over 37 million adults lived alone in early 2021, up from 33 million in 2011. 

As far back as 1960, 87 percent of adults lived with a spouse. 

Living arrangements for adults have shown a decrease in people living with a spouse over the last 20 years, with more people living alone or with an unmarried partner

Over 37 million adults lived alone in early 2021, up from 33 million in 2011

The percentage of adults who live with an unmarried partner went up from 7 to 8 percent in that period. 

The percentage of adults living with an unmarried partner also increased, from 7% to 8%. 

Historical numbers show adults trending away from marriage. 

In 2021, 34 percent of those age 15 and older reported never having been married, up from 23 percent in 1950.

The statistics come from the 2021 Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), which collects labor force data as well as data on a variety of characteristics of households, living arrangements, married and unmarried couples and children. 

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