May 31, 2011 ( – Households maintained by a married couple are for the first time ever in America being outnumbered by those without marriage, the latest Census data has shown.

According to data gathered by the Census Bureau in 2010, married couples now constitute only 48 percent of U.S. households, slipping four percentage points below the previous year’s statistic as part of an overall downward trend.

The shift coincides with growth in the elderly population and a sharp increase in cohabiting couples, up 13 percent since 2009, to 7.5 million.

Marriage age is also trending upwards, with more and more couples waiting until at least their late twenties to get married: whereas in the 1960s grooms and brides averaged 23 and 20 years old respectively, they now average 28 and 26.

The Census report this year also broadened its defnition of “family” to include homosexual cohabiting couples. The Obama administration in 2009 directed the government office to find a way to include homosexual “marriages” and partnerships while collecting the 2010 data.