Despite the widely recognized pay gap between men and women in the U.S., it appears that the latter is laying down roots one house at a time at a higher rate, as single women own more homes than single men.
A new report by LendingTree analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data and found that single women—those who live by themselves—are more likely than single men to own a home in 48 of 50 states.
The report found that single women own about 10.76 million homes, while single men own about 8.12 million in the 50 states. By that measure, single women own an average of 12.9% of the owner-occupied homes in the 50 states versus 10.06% among single men.
“Though single women are more likely to own a home than single men are, a majority of homes are nonetheless owned by couples and families,” said LendingTree’s Senior Economist Jacob Channel in a statement emailed to RISMedia.
Regardless of gender, Channel acknowledged that homeownership is still an expensive and arduous journey for aspiring homeowners.
Of the 50 states, the report found homeownership among single women was most pronounced in Sunbelt states, which accounted for six of the top 10 states with the largest number of single women homeowners.
Louisiana has the highest share of homes owned by single women, with 15.16% of the state’s owner-occupied households owned by single women—more than 2% higher than the 50-state average.
Florida has the largest gap in homeownership rates among single men and women, with a difference of 4.55%, which LendingTree says is almost 2% higher than the national average of 2.84%.
On the flip side, North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states where single men own a higher share of homes than single women, according to the report.
Doubling as the author of the report, Channel suggested that there are a few possible explanations for the trend.
“There’s evidence that suggests single women prioritize homeownership more than single men,” he wrote. “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 own a greater proportion of homes than single men, even if they’re often less financially well off.”
Citing Pew Research Center reports, Channel acknowledged that while women generally earn less than men, there are some exceptions to the trend, especially among younger generations.
According to the Pew report, women younger than 30 earn at least as much as men of the same cohort in 22 U.S. metros. In another 107 metros, women younger than 30 earn up to 99% of what men of the same group earn.
“These comparable (or even higher) earnings—combined with a greater homeownership desire—could contribute to higher homeownership rates among single women,” Channel said. “That said, homeownership isn’t just a young person’s game, and factors outside of earnings could contribute to them becoming homeowners.”
Highlighting that women are twice as likely to report being widowed last year than men based on U.S. Census Bureau data, Channel noted that “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,” he added.
States with the largest share of single-women homeowners
Owner-occupied households: 1,202,510
Households owned and occupied by single women: 15.16%
Households owned and occupied by single men: 10.94%
Gender gap between single homeowners: 4.22%
Owner-occupied households: 1,379,476
Households owned and occupied by single women: 14.98%
Households owned and occupied by single men: 10.85%
Gender gap between single homeowners: 4.13%
Owner-occupied households: 1,473,543
Households owned and occupied by single women: 14.84%
Households owned and occupied by single men: 10.65%
Gender gap between single homeowners: 4.19%
States with the largest share of single-men homeowners
Owner-occupied households: 204,325
Households owned and occupied by single men: 12.70%
Households owned and occupied by single women: 11.08%
Gender gap between single homeowners: -1.62%
Owner-occupied households: 173,177
Households owned and occupied by single men: 12.06%
Households owned and occupied by single women: 12.45%
Gender gap between single homeowners: 0.39%
Owner-occupied households: 243,363
Households owned and occupied by single men: 11.97%
Households owned and occupied by single women: 11.29%
Gender gap between single homeowners: -0.68%