Unmarried women can have an enormous influence on American politics, election outcomes and policy debates—when they register, turn out and act on their values.
Unmarried women – women who are widowed, divorced, separated or have never been married – make up one of the fastest-growing shares of the U.S. population and electorate. As their numbers grow so does their power to decide elections, speed social change, and shape the nation’s policy agenda.
Right now, the data shows they are living very different lives than their married counterparts – they earn less, have less education, are more likely to be unemployed, in poverty, without health care coverage or a pension plan.
All data is from 2014 unless otherwise noted, and has been pulled from research done by both Lake Research Partners and Bill Johnstone.
There are 56.8 million unmarried women in the U.S. They account for 26 percent of the overall population.
Unmarried women skew young and old:
More than six in ten unmarried women in America are white.
A significantly higher percentage of married women (37.5 percent) have college and higher degrees than unmarried women (24.1 percent).
An unmarried woman was more than twice as likely to be unemployed (7.3 percent) as a married woman (3.1%).
15.4 percent of unmarried women did not have health coverage in 2013—almost twice the rate for married women (8.3 percent).
Unmarried women are disproportionately at the lower end of income brackets.
Women working full time make 80 cents for every dollar a man working full time makes. Unmarried women make substantially less. Latinas make the least of all unmarried women.
Unmarried mothers make significantly less than their married counterparts.
Unmarried women are almost four times as likely to live in poverty as married women.
Unmarried women are less likely to be homeowners.
Over half of unmarried women do not have a employer-provided pension plan.