More American adults living alone, Census Bureau reports

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More American adults are living alone, according to newly released estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual America’s Families and Living Arrangement table package. 

In a news release, the bureau said the percentage of adults living with a spouse decreased from 52% to 50% over the past decade.

Living alone became more common and 37 million adults age 18 and over lived alone in early 2021, up from 33 million in 2011. 

In 1960, single-person households represented only 13% of all households.

The percentage of men and women ages 18 to 24 that lived alone – about 5% each – did not significantly differ, although some living arrangements differed by sex and age group. 


More women than men in this age group lived with a spouse and 12% of women lived with an unmarried partner compared with 7% of men.

“The percentage of men ages 18 to 24 living alone was not significantly different from the percentage of men who lived with a spouse,” the bureau noted.

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

However, the number of families with their own children under age 18 in the household declined over the last two decades — down to 40% compared with 44% in 2011 and 48% in 2001.

The percentage of adults age 15 and over who had never been married was up 11% from 1950, at 34% in 2021 and 23% in 1950. The estimated median age in 2021 was 30.4 for men and 28.6 for women in early 2021, up from ages 23.7 and 20.5, respectively, in 1947.

Men and women ages 25 to 34 were more likely than their younger counterparts to live with a spouse or unmarried partner and one-third of men and 42% of women lived with a spouse in early 2021. About the same share of both men and women of these ages lived with an unmarried partner.

Lastly, more than 50% of adults ages 18 to 24 lived in their parental home, compared with 17% of adults ages 25 to 34.

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

The ASEC has been conducted for more than 60 years.

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