Among the minority who say marital status does make a difference in life, marriage is deemed better in all of the listed realms but one.

When it comes to getting ahead in a career, being single wins out, 24% to 14%.

Why this apparent disjunction between belief and reality?

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About seven-in-ten (69%) people do not agree with that notion; only 28% do.

Among those who do agree, men (31%) are slightly more likely to do so than women (26%).

Being a good parent was seen as “one of the most important things” by a larger share of adults (53%).

Men and women overall do not answer differently in rating the priority of a successful marriage to them, but there are differences among young adults, ages 18 to 34. According to the public, it is easier for a married person than a single person to raise a family (77% say so).

The median age at first marriage, which declined for the first half of the 20 century, has been rising since then.

As recently as the early 1980s, the median age for men was 25 and for women 22.Among divorced adults, only 29% say they would like to marry again, with women more likely than men to say they do not want another trip down the aisle.Among widowed men and women, only 8% want to wed again.A rising share of births are to mothers who are not married, meaning that marriage is no longer seen by many as the only gateway to parenthood.(The divorce rate has gone down since the 1980s and is less of a factor than it used to be.) The postponement of many markers of adulthood also plays a role.Monica Mc Grath and Kent Kirkland are divorced parents of two young children.