the cost of being singleThe Atlantic magazine just published an article titled, “The high price of being single in America.” It is the best article ever written about financial discrimination against people who are single.

Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell – you may know them as the awesome women of Onely – wrote their painstaking piece over the past several years. It was published today (1-14-13). In it, they compare the costs of being single, compared to being married, in:

  • Income taxes
  • Social Security
  • Health spending, and
  • Housing.

They used hypothetical single women and married women in their examples. One pair earned $40,000 per year for 40 years, and the other earned $80,000. The model assumed that all of the women lived for 20 more years after retirement. Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell conclude that:

“Our lower-earning woman paid $484,368 for being single. Our higher-earning woman paid $1,022,096: more than a million dollars just for being single.”

That huge singles penalty was just for the four categories listed above. There are many other domains in which single people are penalized. My contributors and I described many of them in Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Stop It. (Paperback is here; ebook is here.)

Note also that the potential million dollar penalty documented in the Atlantic article was limited in another very significant way: “…we didn’t consider the expenses of children (though for the record single women bear more of a financial burden of raising children, compared to married women).”

Because single life is often stigmatized, there are many other costs to living single other than the financial ones. I described many of them in Singled Out, and often, my posts here at Psych Central describe the psychological penalties to being stereotyped and sometimes ostracized or excluded simply because you are single.

There is so much to say about the Atlantic article. I wrote a summary here, but really, go read the whole thing. Then, if you agree that it is important, Like it, Share it, Tweet it, and do all those other things you can do to spread the word. This is such an important article, and such a great opportunity to bring these significant issues about single life into our cultural conversation.

Thank-you, Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell! You two Onelies rock!

Single woman and finances photo available from Shutterstock