The percentage of married Americans has fallen to the lowest point ever.

A recent report from the Pew Research Center found that the percentage of married Americans has fallen to the lowest point ever, and that “the same trend has taken hold in most other advanced post-industrial societies.” This is right in line with Marriage Optional, one of our 10 Trends for 2012—the idea that “happily ever after” is being redefined, especially by women.

Attitudes-toward-marriage

As part of the research for our trends forecast, we surveyed 1,055 adults in the U.K. and the U.S., and of those who have never been married, more than 8 in 10 said they’re in no rush to wed. Among women, two-thirds said they’re comfortable with the idea of not getting married, and in either a sign of not caring or giving up hope of finding “the one,” three-quarters said they’re not sure they’ll ever get married. Many are also open to couplehood outside the traditional bonds of matrimony: Nearly half the never-married women said they feel a long-term committed relationship is preferable to marriage. Increasingly, it’s imperative for marketers to recast their perceptions of the single adult, who today is far less likely to be the sad-sack lonelyheart that’s been typically portrayed.