Share of Adults Who Have “Never Married” Rises in Arkansas

A rising share of adults in Arkansas have never married, according to reports from the federal government.

In June, Pew Research published an analysis showing “a record-high share of 40-year-olds in the U.S. have never been married.” The article notes that,

As of 2021, 25% of 40-year-olds in the United States had never been married. This was a significant increase from 20% in 2010, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

This isn’t simply a nationwide trend. Census Bureau data specifically for Arkansas shows a rising share of adults have never married as well.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey found that 17% of men ages 35-44 and 12.6% of women ages 35-44 reported having never married. By 2021, those percentages had increased to 23.8% of men and 18% of women ages 35-44.

Similar increases were seen among other age groups.

Overall, married Arkansans dropped from 51% of the population in 2010 to 48.9% in 2021.

Cohabitation could be one explanation for the rising percentage of adults who have never married, but Pew Research actually found that most 40-year-olds who have never married were not living with a romantic partner. The article notes that nationwide, “In 2022, [only] 22% of never-married adults ages 40 to 44 were cohabiting.”

More and more, adults in America — including in Arkansas — seem to be either delaying marriage or simply forgoing marriage entirely.

Research repeatedly has shown that healthy marriages are good for adults, good for children, and good for society.

Cohabitation creates relationships that are less happy and less healthy. Meanwhile, children with a married mother and father are less likely to live in poverty.

Married couples report more satisfaction across the board than cohabiting couples, and marriage is also broadly connected with better health and wellbeing. 

As social commentator John Stone Street noted last year,

Marriage is a part of the created order. Though some marriages will tragically end for various reasons and others may want marriage but struggle to find it, the Church can provide vital community for all of its members, while still promoting marriage for the God-given good that it is. And when marriages hit rocky ground, resources like Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored conferences, are available for those willing to fight for reconciliation … with incredible stories of success. 

Ultimately, though, a successful marriage requires the same thing as Christianity, a commitment to something bigger than ourselves.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

Traditional Marriage: A Pillar of Our Civilization

This is part of Family Council’s ongoing series outlining the importance of traditional family values in society. Today’s installment highlights the value of traditional marriage.

Even though governments and courts in America have moved to redefine marriage in the past decade, traditional marriage between one man and one woman is still an essential building block of society.

Below are a few key points to consider.

Traditional Marriage is a Fundamental Institution

Marriage between one man and one woman is an institution that has existed for millennia. It has served as the foundation of countless civilizations — including our own.

It’s easy to forget, but no nation on earth recognized same-sex marriage before the year 2000. There is virtually no history of same-sex marriage in America — or anywhere else, for that matter — prior to the past 23 years.

The marriage of one man to one woman has been the bedrock of western civilization for almost a thousand years. Marriage licenses were issued in colonial America more than a century before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

There is nothing hateful in wanting to uphold the pillars that help support our civilization, and there is nothing wise in tearing those pillars down.

Supporting Traditional Marriage Goes Hand-in-Hand with Supporting Religious Liberty

Traditional marriage and religious liberty are deeply connected, because many religions recognize marriage as a sacred institution between one man and one woman.

Christians believe marriage is a part of God’s created order. People of faith should be free to live out their religious convictions regarding marriage.

Unfortunately, we have heard time and again about Christian photographersbakersflorists, and wedding chapel owners being investigated and dragged into court because they declined to take part in a same-sex wedding or ceremony. Sometimes the Christian business owners win their cases. Other times they lose.

Devaluing marriage and redefining it in society have set the stage for this type of conflict.

Traditional Marriage is Good for Children and Families

Traditional marriage provides a supportive environment where children can thrive. It also is one of the most effective ways to combat poverty and promote economic mobility.

In 2012 Heritage Foundation published an exhaustive report identifying marriage as a determining factor in whether or not a family lives in poverty.

The report found “being married has the same effect in reducing poverty that adding five to six years to a parent’s level of education has.”

Bottom line: Traditional marriage — a lifelong union of one man to one woman — is good for everyone.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

Traditional Family Values: The Nuclear Family

This is part of Family Council’s ongoing series outlining the importance of traditional family values in society. Today’s installment focuses on the value of the nuclear family.

The nuclear family consisting of a married mother and father with their children is a cornerstone of our society.

Below are two key points to consider.

The Nuclear Family Provides Stability and Structure

Strong families are essential for building strong communities and a strong society. The nuclear family provides a foundation for that to happen.

Families offer a stable environment where men, women, and children to flourish and contribute to their communities.

The nuclear family is especially important for children, because it provides them with stability and structure. Children thrive when they are raised in a home with a married mother and father who are committed to one another and to their children.

The Nuclear Family Helps Prevent Poverty

Marriage and family provide a hedge against poverty.

An exhaustive report from the Heritage Foundation found that people were 82% less likely to experience poverty when they graduated from high school, then got married, then had children, and then remained married.

The same study found children from single-parent homes were:

  • More than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime;
  • Twice as likely to be treated for emotional and behavioral problems;
  • Roughly twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school; and
  • A third more likely to drop out before completing high school.

A 2014 study by officials from the National Marriage Project found, “Growing up with both parents (in an intact family) is strongly associated with more education, work, and income among today’s young men and women.”

Marriage and the nuclear family provide a hedge against poverty and other bad outcomes for children.