According to data from the most recent census, women are shown to be disproportionately affected by divorce when it comes to finance. Compared to men, women tend to earn less money and tend to be less likely to be able to afford to live independently. Why is being single so expensive?
There’s the obvious answer ”“ two incomes are better than one. But it’s more than just income. Here are some reasons why being single is just more expensive ”“ and why women often face harsher prospects of independence.
- Taxes: Married couples can typically save thousands of dollars in taxes when they file jointly. This is because of the bevy of federal and state laws that benefit married couples. When you get a divorce, you lose these benefits, which means your taxes will probably be higher. Additionally, studies from ConsumerReports.org and the University of Central Florida reveal a hidden “woman tax” when it comes to sales. Products marketed to women, even if they are functionally identical to men’s products, are more expensive on average.
- Health Spending: Did you know that, on average, single women spend more on annual healthcare than single men? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that while men spend 3.9 percent of their annual income on health care, single women spend 7.9 percent, just over double of what men pay. The National Women’s Law Center says that a nonsmoking woman often pays more for health insurance than a smoking man. Women also have to worry about gynecological costs as well as pregnancy, two things that men do not have an equivalent of. Furthermore, women just go to the doctor more, according to a Louis Harris and Associates study that found that men avoid doctors at three times the rate of women yearly, and that a third of men don’t even have a regular physician.
- Housing: According to the BLS, single women are ”“ once again ”“ paying disproportionate amounts for housing compared to couples and single men. Couples spend an average 23.9 percent of annual income on housing. Single men, 30.3 percent. Single women, 39.8 percent. It breaks down logically; couples can combine income, single men tend to make more money and single women are victims of the wage gap, thus the higher percentage.
It’s definitely not fair and shows bias against not just singles, but specifically single women, at an institutional level. For these reasons (and several more), it’s just harder to be financially independent as a single woman.