“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.
But even outside cities, there is a distinct rise of the “single.” Almost half of new births are to unmarried mothers. The number of parents living together but not married has tripled. And the number of American adults who have never been married is at a historic high, around 20 percent.”
“In fact, people who live alone are often the life of their cities and towns. They tend to participate in more civic groups and public events, enroll in more art and music classes, and go out to dinner more often than people who live with others. Single people, regardless of whether they live alone or with others, also volunteer more for social service organizations, educational groups, hospitals and organizations devoted to the arts than people who are married.
In contrast, when couples move in together or get married, they tend to become more insular, even if they don’t have children.”
What do these changes mean for our churches?
As America grows more culturally, racially and ethnically diverse, fewer of us are choosing to get married. The reasons for this are many, but the phenomenon itself is indicative of broader changes in our culture.
I’m researching the topic of single adults and their place (or lack of such) in our congregations. Do the structures of our congregations accommodate “marital status diversity”? What’s working? What isn’t?
Please complete this online questionnaire.
Any information or comments you provide about your congregation would be very helpful. Please let me know if comments are confidential. I will be happy to share the results, either directly with you or via your denominational office.
I’m keeping this simple and to-the-point in hopes that you will feel inspired to share your own church’s experiences.
Please return to The Rev. Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans atBellettrelliz@gmail.com