The median age at first marriage, which declined for the first half of the 20 century, has been rising since then.
As recently as the early 1980s, the median age for men was 25 and for women 22.
Among the minority who say marital status does make a difference in life, marriage is deemed better in all of the listed realms but one.
When it comes to getting ahead in a career, being single wins out, 24% to 14%.
Having a successful marriage is “one of the most important things” in life for 36% of adults, according to a 2011 Pew Research survey.
An additional 48% said it is “very important but not the most” important.
A rising share of births are to mothers who are not married, meaning that marriage is no longer seen by many as the only gateway to parenthood.
But among never-married adults ages 30 to 50, men (27%) are more likely than women (8%) to say they do not want to marry.
About four-in-ten (39%) young women say that having a successful marriage is “one of the most important things” in their life, compared with about three-in-ten (29%) young men who say so. But in other realms of life asked about in the 2010 Pew Research survey, most people do not think either married or single people have an easier time of it.
In fact, about half or more think there is no difference between being married or single in the ease of having a fulfilling sex life, being financially secure, finding happiness, getting ahead in a career or having social status.
About seven-in-ten (69%) people do not agree with that notion; only 28% do.
Among those who do agree, men (31%) are slightly more likely to do so than women (26%).