Are people being more selective? One indicator may be the average age of first marriage. In Canada the average age is 30 for men and 28 for women, a rise of five years for each category since 1973 (Source: Statcan, 2003). Although the USA has seen an increase as well, the average age is still lower than Canada with men marrying, on average, at 27, and women marrying at 25. This represents a rise of four years each since 1973 (Source: US Census).
Dr. Stacey MacKinnon, a Social Psychology Researcher and Professor at the University of Prince Edward Island attributes the trending increase in singlehood to other factors such as more economic options for women, which means they don’t have to marry for security anymore; a higher percentage of men who cannot “afford” to marry given the economic downturn; and the prolonged education of men and women.
This trending increase in singlehood has adverse effects on our society as a whole with the increased healthcare costs associated with the decrease in physical and emotional well-being. The USA Federal Government has recognized this as a growing concern and thus has implemented substantial initiatives, including the Healthy Marriage Initiative by the US Department of Health and Human Services to support and encourage stable marriages.
In conclusion, when we look at marriage rates, divorce rates, average age of marriage and percentage of population married, it is evident Canadians are more single than Americans. On the other hand, Americans are losing ground as can be seen in trends over the long-term, but perhaps with their initiatives they will be able to maintain a more stable marriage base. Whatever the outcome, one thing is clear: living alone can be bad for you, which is excellent motivation for getting out there to find your plus one.