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If you’re an American looking for love in the 21st century, there’s a very good chance you ain’t gonna find it. 

Dating in the U.S. has become quite the quagmire and if you are Black, dating can seem even more difficult and stressful. 

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 117.6 million Americans older than 18 are unmarried, divorced or widowed, accounting for 46% of the U.S. population and that number has been on the rise since the 1960s. 

For Black Americans, these numbers are even more disappointing. According to Pew, Black adults (47%) are much more likely to be single than White (28%) or Hispanic (27%) adults.

It’s worth noting, that the Census regularly undercounts Black people as reported by NPR. In 2020, it was estimated that 3.30% of Black people we undercounted on the Census. 

With the advent of social media and dating apps, the idea of dating in the traditional sense has long disappeared. 

As more Black Americans decide to remain single, the harsh realities of handling the hardships of life with only one household income have become even more of a burden. 

Kaishon Holloway, a single man living in New York City tells CNBC about the cost of living for singles. “The majority of my friends who are single and living alone are stressed about the cost of living.”

What is the “Singles Tax?”

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It is cheaper, dollar for dollar, to live alone, but with rent increases and inflation on most household items, maintaining a single-person household ends up being more money than if a two-person household split their expenses in two. It costs more money to live on your own than it does to share your space with a partner. 

This is known as the “singles tax.”

For example, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, in Missouri, the cost of a year’s worth of typical expenses before taxes for a single-person household is $29,880 a year. The cost for a two-person household is $47,483 a year. Splitting expenses for a two-person household is more than $6,000 cheaper than the entire expenses for a single-person household. In turn, single people often have to find supplemental income to stay on par with their two-person household counterparts, many of whom turn to roommates to cover that cost.

Married couples also get advantages when it comes to income taxes that single individuals are not privy to such as the marriage tax penalty or bonus. According to CNBC, the “marriage tax penalty” is when a couple combines their incomes and enters a higher tax bracket. “The ‘marriage tax bonus’ occurs when couples pay less in income taxes when they file jointly than they would have as individuals,” CNBC notes. Tax laws were made to benefit two household incomes as opposed to someone filing alone. 

The biggest expense for singles living alone is the cost of housing, which seems to rise every year. If you’re single, the best but often most difficult decision is to get a roommate or downsize as much as you can. 

“It’s even more important for you to budget, to understand how much money you’re making, how much money you’re spending, where is your money going,” financial planner Kamila Elliott, told CNBC. “Think about yourself integrating into a community and identifying ways to help minimize some of your day-to-day expenses.”

Of course, living alone has some benefits. Financial freedom to spend your money only on yourself is an amazing feeling, but is it worth it when every year more and more of your bread has to go to rent or groceries? 

Doesn’t seem too financially free…


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