The percentage of youth and young adults who have never married increased over the last three decades. In 1980, some 94 percent of youth (ages 15 to 19) and 59 percent of young adults (ages 20 to 24) had never married. By 2009, those numbers had increased to 98 percent of youth and 82 percent of young adults. The only exception to this pattern was for male youth, where no measurable difference could be determined between 1980 and 2009.
Across all time periods, higher percentages of young adult males were never married than were their female counterparts. For example, in 2009, about 87 percent of young adult ages 20 to 24 males had never married, compared to 77 percent of females in the same age group. (These numbers increased from 69 percent of males and 50 percent of females in 1980.) The median age at first marriage also increased between 1980 and 2009, from 25 to 28 for males and from 22 to 26 for females.