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Americans Marrying Older, Living Alone More, See Households Shrinking, Census Bureau Reports


The median age of first marriage was 27.1 years for men and 25.8 years for women last year, up from 23.2 and 20.8 years, respectively, 25 years earlier, according to new information on America’s families and households released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to Families and Living Arrangements: 2005, the proportion of households consisting of one person living alone increased from 17 percent in 1970 to 26 percent in 2005. In 2005, 10 percent of the nation’s households contained five or more people, down from 21 percent in 1970. During the same time period, average household size declined from 3.14 to 2.57 people.

The tabulations also show 67 percent of the nation’s 73.5 million children under 18 lived with two married parents in 2005. About 20.7 million children under 18 lived with one parent; 17.2 million with their mother and 3.5 million with their father.

Other highlights:

* The majority of men and women in 2005 had been married by the time they were 30 to 34 years old (72 percent); and among men and women ages 65 and over, 96 percent had been married.
* The United States had an estimated 5.8 million “stay-at-home” parents: 5.6 million moms and 143,000 dads.
* About 8 percent of all children (6.1 million) lived in a household that included a grandparent.
* Among 12.8 million children ages 15 to 17, about 2.4 million were working and, of these, 2.2 million worked part time.

The table package includes detailed information at the national level about the characteristics of children, husbands and wives, unmarried couples, households and family groups. Many of the tables have data by race and Hispanic origin.

The data are from the 2005 Current Population Survey’s (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). The ASEC supplement to the CPS is conducted in February, March and April at about 100,000 addresses nationwide.

Statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. For further information on the source of the data and accuracy of the estimates, including standard errors and confidence intervals, go to Appendix G of


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