Fully two-thirds of those ages 18 to 29 (67%) express this viewpoint, as do 53% of those ages 30 to 49.
Among those ages 50 and older, most (55%) say society is better off if people make it a priority to get married and have children.
The median age at first marriage is now 27 for women and 29 for men, up from 20 for women and 23 for men in 1960.
In addition, shifting public attitudes, hard economic times and changing demographic patterns may all be contributing to the rising share of never-married adults.
This trend cuts across all major racial and ethnic groups but has been more pronounced among blacks.
Fully 36% of blacks ages 25 and older had never been married in 2012, up from 9% in 1960.
Recent survey data from the Pew Research Center finds a public that is deeply divided over the role marriage plays in society.
Survey respondents were asked which of the following statements came closer to their own views: Society is better off if people make marriage and having children a priority, or society is just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children.
In 1960, only about one-in-ten adults (9%) in that age range had never been married.
Men are more likely than women to have never been married (23% vs. And this gender gap has widened since 1960, when 10% of men ages 25 and older and 8% of women of the same age had never married.
While blacks are more likely than whites to have never been married (and less likely to be currently married), a much higher share of blacks (58%) than whites (44%) say that it’s very important for a couple to marry if they plan to spend their lives together.