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But as Klinenberg points out in his book “Going Solo,” cultural attitudes have changed.Today, living on one’s own is a marker of adulthood.When Karin Denison was in her early 20s, it seemed that all her peers were coupling up and planning to live happily ever after.She spent the summers after college driving to friends’ weddings, she recalls.And the number of American adults who have never been married is at a historic high, around 20 percent.
(They recently bought a house in Brooklyn together.)“We have the same stupid fights and the same wonderful stuff as in any relationship,” Mr. A female college graduate getting an apartment on her own would have been seen as indecorous.
Particularly for college graduates, this delay in marriage has ushered in a new phase of life that sociologists are calling “emerging adulthood” or, less charitably, “delayed adolescence.” This is a time when people focus on their careers and their own personal fulfillment, sociologists say: They go out to dinner, work late hours, and make close groups of friends that are sometimes dubbed “urban tribes.” And while there has been some hand-wringing about this, with worries about a lack of maturity among young American adults today, a number of scholars who study singles point out that this group is the antidote to another point of cultural anxiety: the decline in community.
College-educated singles are moving into old downtown buildings and spending money in revitalizing urban centers.
Last year, for the first time, the number of unmarried American adults outnumbered those who were married.
One in 7 lives alone – about 31 million compared with 4 million in 1950 – and many of those are clustered in urban centers.
For years, the average age at which both men and women first marry has been creeping upward, to 27 for women and 29 for men. In other words, there may at any given moment be more single people who have never been married, but that doesn’t mean that those singles are going to stay that way.