The number of single people has been growing for more than a half-century. Of all Americans who are unmarried, the biggest proportion of them, by far, are people who have never been married. Yet not much research has focused specifically on this group. Maybe that’s in part because the percentage of people who stayed single all their life has, in the past, been fairly small. But that may be changing.
There is one exception to my claim that lifelong single people are rarely studied. There are many studies examining the link between marital status and various measures of health and well-being, and those studies sometimes include people who are never married as a separate group. The goal of those studies, though, is nearly always to try to show that married people are doing better than everyone else – a conclusion that ranks somewhere between vastly overstated and just plain wrong. You can find discussions of those studies here. Below are answers to some other questions about people who have always been single.
How many people have been single all their life?
Record number of Americans will stay single for life
What has changed for single Americans in the last decade?
How many people choose to be single?
How many Americans want to be single? Results from 5 studies
The number of lifelong single people has increased in all developed nations
Are there more lifelong single women or men?
Strengths and resilience of lifelong single people: The evidence
Two of the profound rewards of staying single
Men and women who have always been single are doing fine
The badass personalities of people who like being alone
Lifelong single women in their 70s: You got a problem?
Singles value meaningful work – and did so even in high school
Married people enjoy higher status but no higher life satisfaction or self-esteem than lifelong single people: 30-nation study
7 kinds of spinsters
19 ways single people are doing way better than you realized
17 things no one ever told you about single people
The rarely recognized route into the black middle class: Staying single and living alone
Happily single for life
People who stay single get happier and happier over the course of their adult lives
In later life, people who stayed single are doing better than people who were once married
If you’ve been single all your life, you have a lot to be proud of
Here are some of the achievements and milestones single people celebrate
No need to marry, have kids, to be fulfilled, survey results show
Yes, we really do want lifelong singlehood
The deep rewards of a deeply single life
Women who are comfortably single at midlife
Single life as a ‘satisfying choice and a profound threat’
Lots of people want to be her: A single woman with no children
How to be happily single for life
A positive psychology of single life
Thriving despite the stereotyping and stigmatizing
Single People Aren’t to Blame for the Loneliness Epidemic
Lifelong single people targeted with more than their share of stereotyping
The emotional life of single people
That spinster stigma study: Others ignore you or they are intrusive
When will we be able to say, without getting ridiculed, that we want to stay single?
What no one ever told you about people who are single
Some questions about staying single
Single, No Children: Who Is Your Family?
What do single women really want?
No, I’m not married. Why do you ask? (with Joan DelFattore)
Why stay single? Top 5 reasons
What is the meaning of those top reasons for staying single?
Are lifelong single people more introverted than people who marry?
7 questions to help you decide if you should stay single
Just for fun
Famous single women (by Maureen Paraventi)
Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After
The Best of Single Life
Alone: The badass psychology of people who like being alone