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There has been a slow, steady increase in single women over the last several decades. A combination of better-paying jobs, more reliable birth control and a desire for a more fulfilling life have contributed to a slow, steady rise of single women over the last several decades. Currently 60 percent of adult women over the age of 18 are single. 

Changing societal norms have allowed women more freedom in crafting lives they want to live. For example, more women today are choosing to delay marriage or cohabitate with a partner rather than tie the knot. It seems that more and more women are realizing, for one reason or another, that marriage is an option but not the only one you need to opt for. 

Weighing the Benefits of Marriage

Historically and even stereoypically, marriage has been a way for women to live in a financially stable situation. Because women are becoming more financially independent and able to support themselves, it is no longer a necessity to look at marriage as a way to sustain yourself.

Many lower-income women are also opting out of marriage if the alternative is an unemployed or low-wage partner. Some have made the argument that part of the rise of the single woman is due in part to a lack of suitable mates.

According to recent data from the Digest of Education Statistics, 56 percent of college students at public universities are women. With more women obtaining degrees and succeeding in the workplace, it is possible they are not meeting men on the same level as them.

There are other possibilities that have been oft-cited in the declining marriage numbers, including less inclination towards traditional activities like home-making or raising children or women not wanting to change the income bracket they are in for tax purposes. Some women also cite the fact that they feel they haven’t met “the one,” and don’t feel the need to settle for a mate in the same way that past generations have done.

A Changing Culture

The basic fact of the situation is that today women have more power, and so are able to choose whether or not to marry. If a woman doesn't feel that marriage is in her best interests, she is no longer ostracized for remaining single.

Some experts say there is no need yet to worry that the family unit is at risk of disappearing. Women are simply taking stock of their choices and making an informed decision. Hopefully this results in better unions among the marriages that do occur.

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