July 6, 2023

A Quarter of 40-Year-Olds Never Married

Finding a husband or a wife can truly be a difficult proposition.

Roughly 25% of American men and women in their 40s have never been married. In approaching this subject, it needs to be made clear that although there are some significant cultural problems adding to the difficulty for this generation finding husbands and wives, there are also a significant number who are single because of life circumstances, not for lack of desire.

Let’s break down the breakdown, and perhaps the solution will be made more evident in the diagnosis.

According to a recent Pew Research analysis of census data, that quarter of 40-year-olds who have never married is five percentage points higher than in 2010. It prompts two big questions: Why is this demographic growing? Is marriage no longer a worthwhile institution?

Many people would agree that marriage is a good thing. According the Scholars Strategy Network: “Marriage has historically provided many benefits. Individuals who are married enjoy better physical and mental health, have more social ties and higher household incomes, accumulate more wealth, and raise children who do better in terms of health and social outcomes than children of unmarried parents.”

However, the institution of marriage has been slowly collapsing.

Historical Roots

One can usually trace the start of the destruction of marriage in American culture to the enshrining of no-fault divorce. This law was enacted in 1967 for the first time by then-California Governor Ronald Reagan. He would later describe it as the biggest mistake of his political career. In a less direct way, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” that really took root in 1964 actually incentivized not getting married and also having children out of wedlock.

The 1960s were largely regarded as the start of the sexual revolution. There were many pieces of the puzzle coming into play that helped to facilitate the undermining of marriage. Contraceptives were made legal and widely available, reducing the consequences of sex outside of marriage. The divorce rate started spiking, and today more than half of marriages are ending in divorce.

In 2015, another blow was struck against the institution of marriage: the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling that nationalized the idea that marriage could be between anyone and not just a man and a woman. Up until that point, it was a state issue and arguably should have remained so. In 2022, Democrat and Republican lawmakers codified Obergefell by signing the deceptively named Respect for Marriage Act. Marriage is no longer defined as a legal union between a man and a woman. It is now a legal union with someone you love, which has led to some strange and sad extremes like people marrying themselves.

Marriage was and always will be between a man and woman starting with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It is an institution ordained by God even though the Left continues to refine and ultimately degrade and defile it. This facilitated the breaking down of the institution of marriage and the very meaning of marriage. Subsequently, the breakdown of masculinity and femininity has led many to delay or avoid the institution altogether.


Both men and women are putting off getting married as an intentional choice. For some, marriage is seen as an afterthought, something that comes after you find success in a career. Women in particular are sold the feminist lies that dismiss and marginalize men. Men are not naturally inclined to commitment. It is a virtue that is developed over time, often taught by fathers. Men and women also delay getting married because they do not want children, which is one of the primary purposes of marriage.


As a consequence of the sexual revolution, contraceptives, and the breakdown of marriage as an institution, cohabitation has become a popular choice. Pew says, “In 2022, 22% of never-married adults ages 40 to 44 were cohabiting.”

The truth is that cohabitation benefits no one. People in this situation are roommates with benefits. There are few incentives to stick around when the going gets tough, and the relationship lacks the trust and commitment of marriage. Men and women have also been duped into the player lifestyle, i.e., sleeping around and never committing.

Life Circumstances

There are also plenty of never-married men and women who have sought marriage. They have lived moral and upstanding lives and faithfully pursued relationships that just didn’t work out. Sadly, life doesn’t always conform to the plans we have for it. These bachelors and bachelorettes are part of the statistic, though their circumstances are vastly different.

There is a marriage crisis that is unaddressed in the Unites States. Even a loving, committed marriage can be challenging at times. Those in power, namely leftists, are doing everything in their power to destroy what dignity is left in marriage. To quote our own Nate Jackson: “Marriage isn’t easy and can be downright hard. Joining two independent, imperfect people together in holy matrimony doesn’t always go well. It’s not a condemnation but rather a lament for the human condition to observe that the traditional, intact nuclear family no longer describes most American homes.”

It should be lamented, but that doesn’t mean we cannot turn the cultural tide around. Marriage is an institution that brings stability, is best for the raising of children, and is established by God. And since marriage is God’s, it would not at all be surprising if this dire straight for middle-aged men and women (which in many ways speaks for the culture more broadly) turns into a revival and renewal. That is something to cling to as we continue to weather these treacherous cultural waters.

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