American Association for Single People
Comments on the Diversity of
Press Release -- May 23, 2001 -- Census Report
2000 Census Report Shows a Continuing Decline in
A profile of California households, released today by the United States Census Bureau, shows a decline in the percent of households occupied by married-couples, with a corresponding increase in unmarried households, including those with unmarried couples. The profile is the first data released from the 2000 Census on the various types of households in California.
Married couples now live in 51.1 percent of the state's households compared with 52.7 percent in 1990. Households occupied by unmarried adults increased from 47.3 percent in 1990 to 48.9 percent in 2000. If this trend continues, most California households will be unmarried by the time the next full Census is taken in 2010.
There are now more than 5.6 million households in California falling into the unmarried category. Unmarried living arrangements are diverse, including 2.7 million one-person households, 683,000 unmarried couples, and 834,000 single mothers. The others include unmarried adult blood relatives, roommates, or single dads.
California households containing unmarried adults who identified as "unmarried partners" increased significantly from 495,223 in 1990 to 683,516 in 2000 -- a numeric jump of 38 percent. In comparison, the number of married couples rose less than 8 percent, from 5,469,522 in 1990 to 5,877,084 in 2000.
The Census Bureau refers to "unmarried partners" as two unmarried adults who live together in an intimate relationship. They can be two adults of the same sex or of the opposite sex.
While California households continue to be dominated by married couples, although barely so, several other states have moved into a new era where unmarried living arrangements are now in the majority. Unmarried households now predominate in New York, Nevada, Louisiana, Mississippi, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
A profile of the nation's households, which was released earlier this week by the Census Bureau, showed that nearly half of America's households are now unmarried.
Only 51.7 percent of the nation's households contained a married couple in 2000, down from 55 percent in 1990, 60.8 percent in 1980, and 70.5 percent in 1970. In the "Ozzie and Harriet" era of 1950, more than 78 percent of America's households were occupied by married couples.
People living alone now occupy 25.8 percent of the nation's housing units, surpassing the 23.5 percent married-with-children households.
The 2000 Census revealed that a minority of households -- some 36 percent -- contained children under 18. The figure was 36.5 percent in 1990.
"The demographic shifts occurring in California are similar to the national trends with respect to the decline of married-couple households," said Thomas F. Coleman, Executive Director of the American Association for Single People. "Unmarried households in California will eventually outnumber those containing married couples. It will just take a little longer for this to occur in California than in the nation as a whole."
"The diversity we see reflected in this new profile of California households will have ramifications for programs and policies in both the public and private sectors," Coleman added. "There is strength in numbers and the continuing increase in the number of unmarried adults in California will have political and economic repercussions."
There is a growing demand by many of America's 82 million unmarried adults for equal rights in the workplace and more fairness in our tax codes.
"Despite the hype we constantly hear about the so-called 'marriage penalty' in the income tax code, the truth is that there are more 'marriage bonuses' given to spouses than there are penalties," Coleman observed. "Although the public seldom hears about it, unmarried taxpayers are treated unfairly in many areas of taxation, whether it is the death tax, the income tax, or the social security tax."
Earlier this month, AASP was in Washington, D.C. for a public awareness campaign to alert members of Congress that unmarried taxpayers are annoyed that they are being left out of the political debates over tax reform.
"We went to the offices of all 535 members of Congress with a simple message," Coleman added. "We are 40 percent of the workforce, we pay taxes and we vote. We deserve tax breaks too."
The group also met with the President's staff, as well as representatives of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee.
AASP also promotes equal rights in the workplace. The group has a "Singles-Friendly Workplace Campaign" which encourages employers to include "marital status" in their equal employment opportunity policies, to give equal benefits compensation to unmarried workers, and to show more respect to single employees when it comes to overtime and relocation.
"It should not matter whether you are heterosexual or gay, male or female, young or old," Coleman said. "If you are unmarried you deserve the same respect and the same rights as your married coworkers."
AASP hopes that the new Census data will be a wake-up call to elected officials, political parties, corporate executives, and union bosses, in California and throughout the nation.
"Unmarried Americans are here to stay," Coleman added. "We want the power brokers in society to communicate with us when they are making decisions about our lives"
Detailed data tables on one-person households, married
vs. unmarried households, and family diversity trends, can be found on our website at:
AASP is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization promoting the well being and human rights of unmarried individuals, couples, parents, and families. The group advocates equal rights for unmarried employees, consumers, and taxpayers, whether they live alone, have a domestic partner or roommate, are a single parent, or live with relatives.
Many prominent residents of California are members of AASP. Some are unmarried while others are married people who support our cause for equal rights.
California members with political credentials include: Los Angeles City Attorney James Hahn, Congressman Brad Sherman, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Joel Wachs and Cindy Miscikowski, former mayoral candidate Steven Soboroff, ACLU executive director Ramona Ripston, civil rights attorney and talk show host Gloria Allred, and State Senator Sheila Kuehl.
Celebrity members include: Henny Backus, author of "Care for the Caretaker" and widow of actor Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo, Gilligan's Island); comedian and actor Shelley Berman; and actor Edd Byrnes (77 Sunset Strip, Grease).
Book author members who reside in California include: Joan Busick (Surviving Beyond Happily Ever After); Christopher Carrington, Ph.D. (No Place Like Home: Relationships and Family Life Among Lesbians and Gay Men); Dr. Lillian Carson (The Essential Grandparents Guide to Divorce); Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Singles Soul); Jeanne Warren Lindsey (Do I Have a Daddy?); Merle Yost (When Love Lasts Forever: Male Couples Celebrate Commitment); Sheila Ellison (The Courage to Be a Single Mother).
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