While U.S. women earn 83.1 cents for every dollar a man makes, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), single women own more homes than single men.
A LendingTree analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data finds that single women (women who live by themselves) are more likely than single men (men who live by themselves) to own a home in 48 of 50 states.
Single women own about 2.64 million more homes than single men in the 50 states. Single women own about 10.76 million homes, while single men own about 8.12 million. Put another way, single women own an average of 12.90% of the owner-occupied homes in the 50 states, versus 10.06% among single men.
Louisiana has the highest share of homes owned by single women. 15.16% of Louisiana owner-occupied households are owned by single women — more than 2 percentage points higher than the 50-state average.
North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states where single men own a higher share of homes than single women. In North Dakota, single men own 12.70% of the state’s owner-occupied homes (the highest share in any state), while single women own 11.08%. In South Dakota, those figures are 11.97% and 11.29%.
Florida has the largest gap in homeownership rates among single women and single men. The gap is 4.55% — nearly 2 percentage points higher than the national average of 2.84%.
Wyoming has the smallest gap in homeownership rates among single women and men. Though more single women own homes than single men, the Equality State nearly lives up to its name with a homeownership gender gap of only 0.39%.
Various factors likely contribute to higher homeownership rates among single women
Despite the data showing women generally earn less money than men, the gender gap script is flipped here. There are a few possible explanations.
For example, there’s evidence that suggests single women prioritize homeownership more than single men. There’s also evidence that single women are more willing than single men to make sacrifices to become homeowners. This could help explain why single women owe a greater proportion of homes than single men, even if they’re often less financially well off.
And while women generally earn less than men, that isn’t always the case — especially among younger generations, according to the Pew Research Center. In fact, women younger than 30 earn at least as much as men younger than 30 in 22 U.S. metros, including New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. In another 107 metros, women younger than 30 earn 90% to 99% of what men younger than 30 do. These comparable (or even higher) earnings — combined with a greater homeownership desire — could contribute to higher homeownership rates among single women.
That said, homeownership isn’t just a young person’s game, and factors outside of earnings could contribute to them becoming homeowners. Considering that women are twice as likely to report being widowed last year than men, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau, it’s possible — if not likely — that many women who now report being single homeowners bought that home with the spouse they outlived. This helps to explain why single-women homeowners are typically older than their single-men counterparts, even though the pay gap is wider for older Americans.
The full study and its methodology can be viewed here.