Living Single? You're Not Alone

One in four Americans are uncoupled

| October 30, 2003

More than 25 percent of Americans -- compared with 8 percent in 1940 -- are living alone these days, and these 86 million singles have often been overlooked as a cultural and economic force. Marilyn Gardner, reporting for The Christian Science Monitor, writes that marketing, television, and the travel industry are catching up with singles in the form of books, dating services, and dinners in single-serving packages. Many televisions shows, such as Sex in the City cater to the single crowd, hundreds upon hundreds of books are being marketed to singles -- especially women -- and the Travel Industry Association of America reports that singles now account for 27 percent of all travel. Even religion, with many churches marketing their worship services for people between the ages of 20 and 30, is recognizing the need to reach out.

Interestingly, the power of the singles demographic has not caught on politically. While 35 percent of voters and 42 percent of the nation's workforce are singles, politicians have not tapped into singles power. Says Thomas Coleman, executive director of Unmarried America, 'It's a tough sell. Democrats seem to take the single vote for granted. Republicans are traditionally, understandably, more family, family, family.'

Gardner reports that Joan Allen, author of Celebrating Single and Getting Love Right, says 'enormous stigmas' against singles still exist. Research by Unmarried American confirms this by showing that 'single employees make less than married employees, have a higher unemployment rate, and receive less compensation for benefits.' With such a large number of people living alone and heading families as unmarried adults it can only be a matter of time until politics catches up with marketing in recognizing the power of singles.
-- Joel Stonington

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