According to the 2010 Statistical Abstract of the United States, the statistics of the marital status of the American Population shows more people have opted for being single since 1990. The figures are for the years of 1990, 2000, 2005, 2008:
Never Married: 18.95%, 21.1%, 21.6%, 22.1%.
Married: 59.7%, 57.6%, 56.9%, 55.7%.
Widowed: 12.1%, 10.5%, 9.9%, 9.8%.
Divorced: 9.3%, 10.8%, 11.5%, 11.7%.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States, Table 56, Marital Status of the Population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 1990 to 2008.
This trend is confirmed by a Pew Research Center survey report Not Looking for Love: Romance in America. Originally posted on February 13, 2006, this survey found that only 16% of single Americans say they are hunting for a partner. That group represents 7% of the entire adult population.
The Statistical Abstract of the United States and the Pew Research Center survey reports are two sources for statistical information. Statistical research is a very important component of empirical research. Want to know the first time empirical information being used in U.S. Supreme Court? Check out the Brandeis Brief in Muller v. Oregon, 208 US 412. In this case an Oregon legislation limiting the working hours for female workers to ten a day was challenged. The future U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Louis Brandeis, serving as the counsel for the State of Oregon, cited similar legislations in other states and foreign countries, economic and social surveys, and medical studies on the effects of long working hours on female workers and productivity to support the legislation. The result: the court decided to uphold the legislation.