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When Karin Denison was in her early 20s, it seemed that all her peers were coupling up and planning to live happily ever after.She spent the summers after college driving to friends’ weddings, she recalls.
Denison, who moved to Boston when she was 26, lives in a far different reality.“There are tons of single people in Boston,” she says.
Four in 10 Americans went ever further, telling Pew researchers in 2010 that marriage was becoming obsolete.
In short, academics say, American society is in the midst of a fundamental social and demographic shift, the “greatest social change of the last 60 years that we haven't already named and identified,” according to New York University sociologist Eric Klinenberg. Klinenberg's full quote.] It is a shift that goes well beyond the dynamics of relationships, affecting everything from housing and health care to child rearing and churches.
“Just as marriages are no longer alike, singleness is no longer all alike,” says Stephanie Coontz, director of research and public education at the Council on Contemporary Families.
Understanding the various facets of the new Singles Nation, it turns out, is key to understanding much about America today.