More Than Sex: 11 Meaningful Facts About Single People

The real lives of people who are single

Posted Feb 07, 2013

In a previous post, I critiqued the recently-released report of the “Singles in America” survey. The report is the third annual attempt of to perpetuate the myth that what single people care about, more than anything else, is becoming unsingle. The company pretends to don the mantle of science, and gets lots of media attention, so it is important to take the report apart claim by claim, rather than just dismissing it out of hand.

The Huffington Post took the press release from and turned it into a slide show with the title, 10 things you didn’t know about single people. The 10 things included such topics as sexting, sex, more sex, snooping in a partner’s Facebook or email account, hiding things online, dating, and more dating.

Real single people live bigger, more interesting, and more meaningful lives than those very circumscribed topics would suggest. So here, in tribute to the real lives of single people, are 10 meaningful things you might want to know about them. Click the links and you can read more about each finding, including appropriate qualifications.

1       Singles value meaningful work, and always have

2       Single people have a more diverse set of confidants than married people do

3       Women who get married get fatter. (Men probably do, too.)

4       Single men have good hearts

5       People who stay single exercise more than married or once-married people do

6       For single people (but not married ones), greater self-sufficiency means fewer negative feelings

7       Married people exchange much less help with their parents and parents-in-law combined than single people do with just their parents. It is the single people who are there for mom and dad.

8       Single people are more likely than married people to have regularly looked after someone who was sick or disabled or elderly, for at least three months

9       Single people are “more likely to spend time with friends and neighbors than people who are married, and…more likely to volunteer in civic organizations.”

10    You know all those things that supposedly go wrong in the lives of the children of single parents? In each of these examples of presumably bad outcomes, the vast majority of the children of single parents are doing just fine.

11    Think there is a marriage penalty? Actually, it is a singles penalty. Single people are subsidizing the breaks married people get in domains such as taxes, health spending, housing, and Social Security

If you really did want to read more about sex, dip into these two posts:

[Notes. This article is cross-posted at The Science of Relationships. Other recent articles posted elsewhere are listed below.]

The single-at-heart: Beacons of innovation in a blandly-married world?

The cruelest singlist statement, from an otherwise socially conscious filmmaker

Here’s what I know about lying and detecting lies