American Association for Single People
Comments on the Diversity of
Press Release -- Embargoed Until May 22, 2001 -- Census Report
2000 Census Report Shows a Marked Decline
A profile of Georgia households, released today by the United States Census Bureau, shows a significant decline in married-couple households, with a corresponding increase in unmarried households, including those containing adults who live alone. The profile is the first data released from the 2000 Census on the various types of households in Georgia.
Married couples now live in 51.5 percent of the state's households compared with 55.2 percent in 1990. Households occupied by unmarried adults increased from 44.8 percent in 1990 to 48.5 percent in 2000. If this trend continues, most Georgia households will be unmarried within the next four years.
The percent of households containing children also dropped slightly during the past decade. In 1990, some 39.9 percent of the state's households were occupied by adults (whether married or single) raising children under 18. In 2000, 39.1 percent of Georgia homes and apartments contain minor children.
In the ten year span, married-with-children households dropped from 26.8 percent of the state's households to 24.4, while one-person households showed an increase from 22.7 percent to 23.6 percent.
The unmarried partner households jumped dramatically from 69,870 in 1990 to 145,743 in 2000, a numerical increase of 109 percent. In contrast, the number of married couples rose by 242,044, a numerical jump of only 19 percent.
About five percent of households in Georgia now contain couples who identify themselves as "unmarried partners." The Census Bureau asks unmarried adults to select that category if they live together in an intimate relationship. Unmarried partners include opposite-sex couples as well as same-sex couples.
A profile of the nation's households, which was released last 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, down slightly from 1990 when 36.5 percent of households fell into this category.
"The demographic shifts occurring in Georgia 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.
"The diversity we see reflected in this new profile of Georgia 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 Georgia could have political and economic repercussions."
Marital status discrimination occurs in the workplace, in the marketplace, and in government policies. Many employers pay married workers more than unmarried employees when benefits compensation is taken into consideration. Some landlords won't rent to unmarried couples and insurance companies often charge higher rates to consumers who are single or divorced.
Although Georgia has civil rights statutes prohibiting various forms of discrimination in business transactions, there is currently no protection for unmarried employees, tenants, and insurance consumers when it comes to marital status discrimination.
The State of Georgia stigmatizes children born to unmarried parents. Some judges label these children as "illegitimate."
A Georgia fornication statute brands unmarried heterosexual adults as criminals if they have sexual intercourse prior to marriage. In contrast, homosexual relations are legal in Georgia due to a Supreme Court ruling invalidating the state's sodomy laws a few years ago.
Stigmatizing unmarried adults and their children is bad enough, but there are also serious economic penalties imposed on unmarried adults.
"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."
"Some policy changes may be in order, considering the steady increase in the number of unmarried adults in Georgia," Coleman added. "Lawmakers may be more responsive to protecting single people from discrimination as the unmarried minority transforms into the unmarried majority."
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.
Georgia State Representative Sharon B. Teague is a member of AASP.
"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," Coleman said.
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 Georgia 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:
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