Lisa and Christina from Onely.org have spent some time and brain power to figure out exactly how much more singles pay over their life-time because of taxes and other singlist policies. They looked at:
The primary areas where government and corporate policies have institutionalized discrimination against single people: income taxes, Social Security, and IRAs. We also looked at discrimination that is not officially institutionalized: housing and health spending. Singles have little choice but to expend more in these areas out of practical necessity.
Their findings were published in The Atlantic earlier this year. Making some assumptions to simplify the calculation (read: this is likely underestimating the actual cost of singlism) and only looking at two cases of single women in Virginia, they conclude:
Our lower-earning woman [earning $40,000 per year] paid $484,368 for being single. Our higher-earning woman [earning $80,000 per year] paid $1,022,096: more than a million dollars just for being single.
Remember, given the assumptions Onley made, this is very likely underestimating the cost of being single!
Now, while a million dollars or even half a million is quite a bit of money, it is difficult to imagine. So, I thought for Tax Day, it would be interesting to look at how much longer a single person has to work to cover this additional cost. I am using here similar logic as feminists use to calculate the Equal Pay Day to figure out Singles Penalty Day. Onely assumed a 40-year career at the same salary, so let’s take the totals from above and do some more math.
Taking the life-time figures from Onely and spreading them over the 40-year careers, the lower-earning woman’s annual single penalty is $12,109 (or 30% of her annual salary) and for the higher-earning woman it’s $25,552 (or 32% of her annual salary). That translates into an additional 79 and 83 working days per year. This year, the single lower-earning woman has to work until April 19 and the single higher-earning woman until April 25 to earn enough to cover the singles penalty – the Singles Penalty Day. Over their 40-year careers, both women would have to work more than 3,000 additional days to make up for the cost of singlist policies. That translates into more than 12 years of additional work! Twelve years! That’s more than a decade! So, if a married woman can retire at 65, a single woman, if she wants to make up for the penalty she pays for being single, would have to work until she is 77 (or almost 78 if she earns more).
And all that discrimination is based on the spurious notion that marriage is somehow magically good for a society. That is, this discrimination is based on a myth. It’s time to dismantle the myth and with that the discrimination and fight for unmarried equality: Equality for all, independent of relationship status!