Nightly News | December 14, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: As we mentioned, another sign of our times to report tonight. The number of married Americans dropping fast. Barely half the people over 18 are married now compared to almost three-quarters back in 1960 . Our report tonight from NBC 's Chris Jansing .
Ms. MARIANA LEOKUMOVICH: It's really pretty in the bag.
CHRIS JANSING reporting: At 28, Mariana Leokumovich is a vision in strapless organza, shopping for her wedding dress.
Ms. LEOKUMOVICH: I am excited. It feels right. It really does.
JANSING: For her it's a dream come true, but she may soon be in the minority. A new Pew research study finds just 51 percent of American adults are now married , fewer than ever before. Notably the number of new marriages dropped 5 percent just just within a year.
Ms. D'VERA COHN (Pew Research Center): If this trend continues within a few years we'll see less than a majority of American adults who aren't married , and this will be a first.
JANSING: It's a dramatic change from the days of Ozzie and Harriet , when not only were most people married , they married young. Today the median age for tying the knot has never been higher, close to 27 for women, 29 for men. Even older if you're college educated. But why are people waiting?
Mr. REED KIMMEL: Well, it fit great, looked great.
JANSING: Reed Kimmel has been in the bridal business for almost three decades and has seen the change coming.
Mr. KIMMEL: They want a secure job kind of in a way before they want to secure a relationship.
JANSING: And the social stigmas are gone. Thirty-nine and never married , Kate Bolick wrote a much talked about article on the single life.
Ms. KATE BOLICK: The idea that marriage is the way we become an adult, that's changed.
JANSING: Like Bolick , more adults are living alone or cohabitating and not feeling the pressure to make it legal. But for old-fashioned romantics out there, 72 percent of us will marry at some point in our lives.
Ms. OLGA ELIZABETH SEBINA: I think it's beautiful.
Unidentified Woman: Yeah, I like that.
JANSING: Olga Elizabeth Sebina will walk down the aisle in October after dating her fiance for six years.
Ms. SEBINA: There is no question. There's no doubt in my mind or in my heart about the right decision.
JANSING: So marriage isn't yet going the way of the horse and carriage. Chris Jansing , NBC News, New York.