Wednesday, August 31, 2022
It pays to be married. According to new data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and reported in the Wall Street Journal, the financial gap between married couples and single people aged 25-34 has widened into a chasm, with married couples worth nearly nine times as much as singles. That's a big jump from 2010, when marrieds were still worth four times as much as singles.
Some of this is just math: Households with two adults in them have more resources. They will be able to split the cost of rent and groceries and more easily qualify for a mortgage or save for a down payment on a house.
But some of it is also about the privileges the US continues to bestow on married couples, and the ways in which our workplaces, norms and expectations have not significantly shifted since the era of the patriarchal nuclear family, with a dad out earning the bread and a mom at home raising children -- even as our families and our lives have radically changed. America in 2022 is not the America of 1952, and if we want to narrow the gap between singles and marrieds -- if we want to make sure all people can thrive, whether they've tied the knot or not -- we need our government and our workplaces to leap into the 21st century and create policies and spaces that support a diversity of individuals and families.