Single and fabulous

New data shows more of us than ever are single - and happy anyway!

Topics: Family, Broadsheet, Love and Sex,

Here’s a big news flash: Single people can lead full, satisfying lives. This is according to a fantastic article in the new issue of Psychology Today (one of my favorite magazines, and not just because I’ve written for it). New demographic data shows that singles are the fastest-growing population group, meaning that a lot of us likely will spend the majority of our lives in a non-married state. So singles are actually enjoying their status, instead of biding their time until they get hitched.

“Singlehood is no longer a state to be overcome as soon as possible,” writer Jillian Straus quotes one of Broadsheet’s favorite social historians, Stephanie Coontz. “It has its own rewards. Marriage is not the gateway to adulthood anymore. For most people, it’s the dessert — desirable, but no longer the main course.” And here’s the kicker — this realization comes amid social science research that neither married nor single life is a determinant of happiness. “Much depends on the achievement of meaningful life goals and quality of the relationships you create,” writes Straus, who apparently changed her focus after writing about how to have a successful, committed relationship in the recent “Unhooked Generation: The Truth About Why We’re Still Single.”

Hurrah! That’s great news for the 86 million single adults, who are poised to become the new majority. (Married couples comprise nearly 51 percent of households today, compared to 80 percent in the 1950s, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.) The article makes the point that although many of us are eventually looking to pair up, we’re busy with lots of other good things in the meantime. That means that single people are no longer mysterious freaks or walking tragedies — but the new normal. The message, then, is that while marriage could be fantastic, it’s not everything so you better get happy with yourself first!



In fact, the diamond industry would love it if all us single, self-actualized people would run out and buy a big honking ring to celebrate our unattached selves. “Women of the world, raise your right hand,” urges an ad campaign for the diamond “right hand ring,” which was recently spotted in a women’s magazine. “Your left hand thinks twice. Your right hand doesn’t believe in second thoughts. Your left hand follows the instructions. Your right hand follows your intuition,” reads the copy from the Diamond Trading Company. My left hand wonders whether, since I don’t have a husband, I should at least have a rock I could call my own. My right hand turns the page.

Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist based in New York. She can be reached at sarah@saraherichards.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>