Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The Pew Research Center found the percentage of Americans living without a spouse or romantic partner increased from 39 percent to 42 percent over the past decade.
The change is most pronounced in Americans under age 35, the data showed. Roughly six in 10 younger Americans (61 percent) are living alone -- up from 56 percent in 2007, before the Great Recession.
Demographers noted a sharp decline in marriage and birth rates beginning around that time, which was attributed to people intentionally avoiding life-altering commitments in a time of economic uncertainty and anxiety.
The U.S. marriage rate has continued to decline over that time period and though the number of Americans living with a non-spouse romantic partner has increased, the rate of change was not enough to offset the difference, Pew found.
The research also noted the increase in overall single living was significant against the backdrop of an aging population. As Baby Boomers reach retirement, tilting the median age of the country older, the percentage of Americans living with a spouse or partner should increase because older people are more likely to be married.
The U.S. divorce rate does not factor significantly into the overall explanation for why more Americans are living without a partner. More than half of singles, 56 percent, have never been married -- and just one-in-five (21 percent) are single as the result of a divorce, Pew said.