The next time your mother or girlfriend asks you how long you plan on staying single, tell them to be grateful for your singleness. CNN Money reports that the nationwide growing number of singles is powering the economy.
These days being single is in. Women and men alike have stopped bemoaning their inability to find “the one,” and have embraced a new culture filled with single-centric fun. Only 51 percent of adults today are married, and 28 percent of all households consist of only one person. It’s a new record in US history, but businesses are thankful for it. Singles spend more than their married friends, earning a higher income with fewer responsibilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that singles contribute about $1.9 trillion to the economy each year.
There are about 18 million independent single women in the US today, compared to 14 million men. Women from ages 18 to 34 comprise 5 million of that number, but they are the fastest growing section of independent singles. “I absolutely love having my own apartment,” Marsha Figaro told CNN Money. Despite her traditional Afro-Caribbean background, the 33-year-old has been living on her own since her twenties. “I can do what I want, when I want to do it, whether it’s eating, watching Hulu, going out, or just going to sleep. I definitely want to move in with someone when I find the right person. But it would be hard to give up all of this.”
Businesses are picking up on the strength of singles’ buying power. Ads are popping up featuring single women renovating bathrooms, driving around with girlfriends, and buying their own jewelry. The real estate industry is specifically catering to America’s increasing single phenomena and designing apartment complexes with more studio and one bedroom options as well as lush amenities such as party rooms, spa and billiards lounges that single’s tend to enjoy.
But singles aren’t just renting apartments; they’re also buying houses on their own. Women make up 21 percent of all buyers. “Our salespeople are aware of this demographic and actually actively go after it. I go on the road all the time and tell all of our associates not to forget about single buyers because they’re everywhere,” Jim Gillespie, chief executive of the massive realty company Coldwell Banker said to CNN Money.
As single life steadily becomes the norm, the days when people thought singles were unhappy and lonely are becoming ancient history. Singles are having all the fun and enjoying fuller, more social and well-rounded lives. As Figaro recalls when she first took on independent single life, “it was totally liberating.”