There is an obvious economic divide between single women and married women—two incomes are always better than one. But it goes deeper than that; being single simply costs more than being married. From tax breaks to housing costs, our economic system is set up to benefit couples. Find out more about the financial implications for the growing single female population in All The Single Ladies.
According to Atlantic writers Christina Campbell and Lisa Arnold, “Marital privilege pervades nearly every facet of our lives.” They found that health, life, home, and car insurance all cost more for single people, and report that “It is not a federal crime for landlords to discriminate against potential renters based on their marital status.” Looking at income tax policy, Social Security, healthcare, and housing costs, Campbell and Arnold found that “in each category, the singles paid or lost more than the marrieds.” At some point in their calculations, the authors confess, “We each wanted to run out and get a husband, stat.”
While single women purchase their own homes at a higher rate than single men, when compared to married adults, the unmarried lag far behind married couples. According to U.S. News & World Report, single people have “the lowest income levels…asset levels…[and] home ownership rates compared to other family structures.”
Anita Hill, who, as a law professor, specializes in issues of housing inequality, argued that housing costs are among the biggest issues facing unmarried women. “We can decide that we’re going to be single,” Hill said, “but we have to figure out how we’re going to be able to put a roof over our heads. We’re making eighty cents for every dollar a man makes. So there is a real issue with more and more women spending over 50 percent of their income on housing.” Economic forces, Hill said, push women “into less independent relationships.”