Married straight couples with families now make up less than half of U.S. households, marking the first time the group has dropped below 50 percent since census data on families was first collected in 1940.
The April report provides a first look at household and family data from the 2010 census and indicates a stark rise in nontraditional homes in America.
Though the U.S. has gained 11 million households since 2000, traditional husband-wife family households now comprise just 48 percent of them. The bulk is of family homes with a single head of house, nonrelated households, and people living alone.
Between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of growth for all types of households, except for husband-wife, was in the double digits. Husband-wife households with children actually fell by 5 percent over the same period, the only group to decline.
Females also are increasingly taking a major role in households. Unmarried females who indicated they were head of household made up 13.1 percent of all households -- more than double the amount of unmarried male householders. In addition, more female respondents than males indicated they live alone, at 17.2 million and 13.9 million respectively.
The report also indicated that households by race and ethnic origin varied widely. About 30 percent of unmarried female householders were African-American – three times as high as their white or Asian counterparts.
According to the data, more people of color live as families. More respondents who defined themselves as a minority race or Hispanic origin were in family households when compared to non-Hispanic whites. About 78 percent of Hispanics or Latinos and nearly 74 percent of Asians indicated they were in family households, compared with about 65 percent of whites.
Overall, those who identified as American Indian or Alaskan natives made up the largest portion of unmarried partner households at 10.9 percent; Asians were the lowest at 3.6 percent. According to the report, unmarried-partner households consist of both straight and same-sex couples.
Unmarried straight couples living together increased by 40.2 percent between 2000 and 2010, four times the national average. That’s still no comparison to the rise in the number of same-sex couples living together, which grew 80.4 percent over the same period.
There is no indication in the data, however, whether more same-sex couples live together now than 10 years ago, or if they’re simply more comfortable saying so.