magazines, and radio shows focused on Unmarried America last
week. And rightly so, since it was Unmarried and
Single Americans Week.
Editors, producers, and
writers picked up on a press release issued by the Census
Bureau which alerted them to USA Week and provided them with
demographic facts about unmarried individuals, couples, and
families. This is the third year in a row that the
Census Bureau has issued a "Facts for Features" press
release like this.
Most of the media attention
was positive and educational.
CBS Radio commentator
Charles Osgood started off the week with a segment devoted
to National USA Week. He rattled off a set of
statistics about the current reality of family diversity,
showing that he had really done his homework on the subject.
Misadventures in Atlanta, a
blog published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, took
note of the increasing number of unmarried Americans. "For
those of us who need to celebrate this week, we arenít
alone: The 2004 U.S. Census says there are 89 million
unmarried Americans who can celebrate with us."
"You don't have to have a
partner to be happy." That's what relationship expert
Dr. Phil told KYW News Radio during an interview in
Philadelphia at the start of "National Singles Week" as some
call the occasion.
That sentiment was echoed
by the Herald and
Review in Decatur, Illinois. Sheila Smith, a staff
writer for the paper, observed that "more
and more people are OK with the idea of flying solo and
enjoying the single lifestyle."
Kristen Coppcock, a columnist
for the Burlington County Times in Pennsylvania thought it
was about time the nation had a commemorative occasion for
all," she wrote, "Married people have their anniversaries,
and parents are honored by children and spouses on Mother's
Day and Father's Day." "And if we can devote weeks to
different charity causes or health issues, why shouldn't we
also use our time to celebrate people?"
, noted that
even though unmarried households are now the majority,
, a writer for the Roanoke Times"family values, whatever those really
are, still control the national debate."
The Flip Side, a segment published in the Columbus Dispatch
took a lighter approach, raising its glass "to toast those
who havenít blown their savings accounts on weddings (and
those who have but now chalk up their mistakes to youthful
Campbell, a writer for the University of Minnesota Post,
lamented the lingering stigma still associated with
singleness, despite television shows like Sex in
the City which glamorize singles. "Thereís a
difference between watching a single woman on television and
being a single woman." she wrote." "The single woman
may be liberated on television and in films, but she is
still frowned upon and seen as defective in real life."
Burtt, a writer for the Mississippi Press, said that USA
Week was a good time for single people to reflect on what
they had done with their lives so far. Taking his own
advice, he reflected that the best thing he had done for
himself as a single was to buy his own house.
a home as a single gave me the assurance that I could have a
life without somebody else if that's what I wanted," Burtt
wrote. "It also established me as someone to take
seriously when it came time for a relationship."
was also commemorated visually. Magnum photographers
did a photo essay for Unmarried and Single Americans Week
which was published on the website of slate.com. The
black-and-white images depicted amazing photos of single
people living their lives, including a group of three
middle-aged women laughing, a man walking alone on a beach,
and a solitary figure walking in the rain on a New York
Of course, there was the
spoiler. There always seems to be a rotten apple at
the bottom of the barrel.
The Daily Herald of Everett
Washington, put a damper on the occasion with a sarcastic
"Gosh, it's already that time
of year again - time to celebrate Unmarried and Single
Americans Week," the editorial begins.
criticizing the USA Week website and its suggested ways in
which single people can participate in the occasion, the
editorial asks "When
is Get a Life Week?"
person who put Unmarried and Single Americans Week on the
commemorative map, and who convinced the Census Bureau to
acknowledge the occasion each year, I must retort: "When is
Get a Real Newspaper Week?"