KEY POINTS

  • The study found that partnered women in 2019 were “faring substantially better” than in 1990
  • Unpartnered men, on the other hand, fared worse
  • Other studies found that marriage or coupling has had health benefits for couples and improved their fortunes

A new study by Pew Research Center indicated that the percentage of unpartnered U.S. citizens has increased by 29% since 1990 and Americans living alone have fared worse financially than those living with a partner.

The study found that between 1990 and 2019, the median wage for unpartnered women decreased by 0.9 percent, the earnings of single men dropped by 4%, while partnered men saw their wages increase by 7% and women living with a partner or spouse saw their wages jump by 48% within the same period.

The analysis indicated that Americans living with a spouse or partner were more likely to fare well economically than single individuals.

“Among men, the gaps are widening because unpartnered men are faring worse than they were in 1990,” the researchers wrote, adding that for women, the gaps in economic outcomes between adults living alone and those living with a partner or a spouse have widened “because partnered women are faring substantially better than in 1990.”

The study further found that single male adults had lower educational attainment and were less likely employed, with data suggesting that in 2019, 91% of partnered men were employed, compared to 73% of unemployed men with no partners or spouses.

Partnered women, in particular, saw a 21% jump in educational attainment, while partnered men saw a 10 percent increase in completing at least a bachelor’s degree since 1990.

Speaking with Yahoo Money, U.S. Census Bureau principal economist Misty Heggeness said that over the years, women have leaned on economic independence and “they’re making more choices in terms of partnering with people who have similar levels of education.” She added that women are also becoming more confident in taking up jobs. According to Heggeness, women are “more educated today than they ever have been in the past.”

The study also found that the percentage of married American adults aged between 25 and 54 dropped from 67% in 1990 to 53% in 2019, further driving the increase in the population of unpartnered adults in the country.

In terms of health, other studies found that marriage has health benefits to Americans, and that these benefits may be affected by “the protective effects of marriage,” which is considered a booster of economic resources for partners or married couples.

Evidence has also been found on improved economic fortunes for couples, both men and women, Time Magazine reported. University of Virginia sociology professor W. Bradford Wilcox cited a Harvard study that indicated single men were more likely to leave a job before searching for a new one than coupled men. “There’s a way in which marriage makes men more responsible, and that makes them better workers,” Wilcox noted.

A COUNTRY WEDDING Jesse Metcalfe and Autumn Reeser star in “A Country Wedding.” Photo: Crown Media LLC/Bettina Strauss