Married or Single? Newsletter

Married or Single?


Jonathan Rothwell

Principal Economist at Gallup



Bella DePaulo

Social Scientist and Author of “Singled Out” and “Single at Heart”



John Donvan

Host and Moderator-in-Chief



This week:

  • A prompt: Is being married or single the key to happiness?
  • A closer look at single forty-year-olds
  • Your Sunday reading list



Is marriage all it’s been hyped up to be in terms of health, finance, and overall well-being, or are there more advantages to living on your own? Whether you are on dating apps, celebrating an anniversary with your partner, or enjoying having a cozy bed all to yourself, we wanted to take a look at an age-old debate about whether it’s better to be married or single.

Arguing in defense of marriage is Gallup’s principal economist Jonathan Rothwell, who recently published a poll showing that married couples reportedly experience higher wellbeing and are thriving at higher levels than unmarried adults. Arguing in favor of the single life is social scientist Bella DePaulo, described by The Atlantic as “America’s foremost thinker and writer on the single experience.”

Also joining us this episode as expert questioners are the host of TherapyJeff and couple’s therapist Jeff Guenther, LPC, cultural anthropologist Dinah Hannaford, University of Delaware professor emerita Joan DelFattore, and family law professor Marcia Zug.


The Numbers Behind Your Relationship Status:

  • According to the Pew Research Center, 25% of forty-year-old Americans have never been married.
  • According to a 2023 Statista survey, millennials make up 61% of dating app users in the U.S., whereas Gen-Z daters make up 26% of users.
  • In the years after the COVID pandemic, more Americans are getting married, with 2.06 million people tying the knot in 2022.
  • In contrast, divorce is trending downward. The divorce rate in 2022 was 2.4 per 1,000 people, versus a rate of 4 per 1,000 people in 2000.
  • In a YouGov survey by the Institute for Family Studies and the Wheatley Institute, unmarried adults aged 18-55 were 28% more likely to say they were lonely “most of the time” or “all the time” compared to 14% of married adults.


Is marriage or singlehood right for you? Listen to this debate now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube. As always, let us know what you think.



Is marriage no longer worth it, or is it getting harder to find love?




Married or Single?


FOR MARRIED: Jonathan Rothwell

“What does marriage do? As a commitment device, it secures and strengthens the relationship. It does so by reducing the risk of being left abandoned or mistreated. It does so by encouraging generosity and investment emotionally, financially, and physically… At any given time, if you’re married, compared to whether you’re not married, the people who are married tend to be happier.”


FOR SINGLE: Bella DePaulo

“I would be less happy if I had to organize my life around a romantic partner. I just wouldn’t be my best life. My best life is being single. That’s my most joyful, meaningful, and fulfilling life… When couples move in together, they pay less attention to their friends, they call their parents less often. It’s single people who are holding society together.”





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