Living Single? You’re Not Alone

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
, 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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