Where Have All the Singles Gone? DC Hits 10-year-low in Unmarried People

WASHINGTON — All across the U.S., the single life is on the upswing.

The percentage of people who have never been married or who are divorced, separated or widowed hit 109 million people last year — or 45 percent of the U.S. adult population, according to new Census Department data released this week to mark “Unmarried and Single Americans Week.”

But one place bucked the trend: the nation’s capital, where the percentage of unmarried people last year actually sank to the lowest level in a decade.

In 2015, 71 percent of the District’s 607,000 residents were unmarried, according to Census’s American Community Survey data. That’s high compared to the U.S. average and even other large U.S. cities — but a significant decline from a high of 76 percent five years ago.

In fact, last year saw the lowest percentage of unmarried people in D.C. since 2005, when 69 percent of D.C.’s adult population was single.

Meanwhile, the percentage of District residents making trips down the aisle has continued to tick up recently, hitting 29 percent last year — the highest level since 2005, when 31 percent of residents were married.

Nationwide, on the other hand, the percentage of married Americans has declined over the past 10 years, from more than 53 percent in 2005 to less than 48 percent last year.

Admittedly, the statistics show there are still a lot of single people in D.C., a city that has earned its reputation as a haven for unattached, commitment-phobic workaholics. In fact, more than half of D.C. residents — 55.4 percent — have never been married.

That’s slightly higher than in Atlanta (55.2 percent), Baltimore (53.1 percent) and Detroit (55.3 percent)and much higher than most other large U.S. cities, among whom only Boston (57 percent) had a higher percentage last year, according to Census data.

Matrimony in the suburbs?

In contrast to the District, itself, the number of single people in D.C.-area suburbs is ticking up, in line with the larger national trend.

In Fairfax County, which boasts more than 1 million residents, the percentage of unmarried people rose more than 5 percent over the past decade, from about 40 percent in 2005 to more than 45 percent last year.

In Arlington County (population 207,000), the percentage of unmarried people increased from about 55 percent in 2005 to 57 percent last year.

More than 60 percent of Prince George’s County’s 863,000 residents were unmarried in 2015 — up from about 53 percent in 2005.

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