WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Most Americans marry just once, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The American Community Survey, an ongoing statistical portrait of the characteristics of the nation's population, found that of 3 million people, 76 percent of those who had ever married have married only once.
Also, nearly 20 percent of Americans have been married twice and 5 percent have been married three or more times, according to the survey, released Sept. 21. Less than 11 percent of the population is currently divorced, and the average marriage, the Census Bureau said, lasts 18.2 years.
Nearly 1 in 3 Americans age 15 and over, or 31.2 percent, reported they had never been married, the highest level in a decade. The number previously had hovered for years around 27 percent before beginning to climb in 2006.
Jenny Tyree, a marriage analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said the Census Bureau research points to the respect people have for the institution of marriage.
"Most Americans esteem marriage as a major commitment," she said. "And, for better or worse, they are reluctant to commit themselves to marriage again and risk failure a second time."