Single people: contributing more to society but getting less?

By September 28, 2011Divorce

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Divorce on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nearly half of all American adults are single, yet lawmakers often write laws and enact policies that ignore this group of about 100 million.

That might begin to change as the number of singles grows. Fewer people are marrying and the number of people who divorce continues to grow, so unmarried Americans might soon be flexing political muscle and getting the anti-single bias taken out of legislation.

Experts say examples of bias favoring married couples range from tax breaks to family leave laws to lower health and car insurance premiums.

A sociologist interviewed for an article on the subject of America’s treatment of its unmarried population said the bias against singles is undeserved; singles, she said, often contribute more to society than married couples.

Once people marry, their focus shifts to their spouses and immediate families, often leaving community involvement, friendships and extended families behind.

A new report by the Council on Contemporary Families shows that 84 percent of women who never marry routinely or often help their aging parents, whereas only 68 percent of married women do.

“It’s the unmarried, with or without kids, who are more likely to take care of other people,” the sociologist notes. She said it’s not children that isolate people from society, but rather marriage.

A professor of psychology has even coined a term for this societal bias against singles: singlism. She says it’s one of the last prejudices that are socially acceptable in this country.

Of course, for people going through divorce, the positive aspects of being single again typically outweigh the negative by a wide margin. They enjoy newfound freedom from the conflicts and roiling emotions of their marriages and the opportunities to forge new, healthier relationships.

Source: St. Petersburg Times: “Though public bias favors marriage, single people may contribute more to community” by Tara Parker-Pope: Sept. 22, 2011