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A Different Kind of Gender Gap: Single Women Own More Homes Than Single Men Do

In much of the United States, single women are outpacing single men when it comes to homeownership. This trend may be somewhat surprising, given the average woman in the U.S. only makes 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. Nonetheless, the data clearly indicates that single women are more likely to own a home than single men are.

For example, in the New York metropolitan area, single women own 13.3% of owner-occupied homes. In the San Francisco metro area, that number is 12.1%. On the flip side, single men only account for 7.9% of owner-occupied homes in the New York metro area and 7.6% of owner-occupied homes in the San Francisco metro area. These numbers are typical for the nation’s 50 largest metro areas. 

To determine the number of single homeowners in each metro area, LendingTree, one of the nation’s leading online loan marketplaces, analyzed data from the 2018 American Community Survey. We defined single homeowners as men or women who live by themselves in a home that they own. 

In all of the 50 largest metropolitan areas that we surveyed, single women own more homes than single men do.

Key findings:

  • In total, single women own more than 1.5 million more homes than single men do in America’s 50 largest metro areas. Single women own about 5.1 million homes. By comparison single men only own around 3.5 million homes. 
  • There is not a single metro area where single men own more homes than single women. The average difference between the share of homes that single women compared to single men is 3.9%. 
  • Las Vegas has the smallest gap between homeownership rates among single women and men. The gap was only 1.2%, though single women still owned over 5,000 more homes than single men in the area. 
  • Richmond, Va. has the largest gap in homeownership rates among single women and men. The gap was 7.1%, which amounts to 22,678 homes. 
  • Tampa, Fla. has the highest share of homes owned by both single women and men. In this metro area, 16.4% of owner-occupied homes are owned by single women, while 11.5% of the same type of homes are owned by single men. For both groups, these shares are the highest in the nation. 

 

Metro areas with the largest share of single-women homeowners

No. 1: Tampa, Fla. 

Owner-occupied households: 795,561  

Households owned and occupied by single women: 16.4% 

Households owned and occupied by single men: 11.5%

Gender gap between single homeowners: 4.9% 

No. 2: New Orleans 

Owner-occupied households: 301,543

Households owned and occupied by single women: 16.1%

Households owned and occupied by single men: 10.9%

Gender gap between single homeowners: 3.8%

No. 3: Buffalo, N.Y. 

Owner-occupied households: 312,730

Households owned and occupied by single women: 16.1%

Households owned and occupied by single men: 10.2%

Gender gap between single homeowners: 5.8%

Metro areas with the largest share of single-men homeowners

No. 1: Tampa, Fla. 

Owner-occupied households: 795,561  

Households owned and occupied by single men: 11.5%

Households owned and occupied by single women: 16.4% 

Gender gap between single homeowners: 4.9% 

No. 2: Pittsburgh 

Owner-occupied households: 690,179

Households owned and occupied by single men: 11.4%

Households owned and occupied by single women: 14.9%

Gender gap between single homeowners: 3.5%

No. 3: Detroit

Owner-occupied households: 1,158,812 

Households owned and occupied by single men: 11.4%

Households owned and occupied by single women: 14.9%

Gender gap between single homeowners: 3.5%

Metro areas with the widest gender gap between single  homeowners

No. 1: Richmond, Va.

Owner-occupied households: 320,505

Households owned and occupied by single women: 16.0%

Households owned and occupied by single men: 8.9%

Gender gap between single homeowners: 7.1%

No. 2: Buffalo, N.Y.

Owner-occupied households: 312,730

Households owned and occupied by single women: 16.1%

Households owned and occupied by single men: 10.2%

Gender gap between single homeowners: 5.8%

No. 3: Sacramento, Calif. 

Owner-occupied households: 507,612

Households owned and occupied by single women: 13.6%

Households owned and occupied by single men: 7.9%

Gender gap between single homeowners: 5.8%


Methodology

The data used to conduct this study came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey with One-Year Estimates.

LendingTree focused only on owner-occupied housing units. As the name implies, these homes are occupied by the people who own them rather than renters.

To determine the percentage of homeowners who were either single men or women in an area, we divided the number of homes occupied by either single men or women homeowners by the total number of owner-occupied homes in an area. It’s important to note that these percentages do not add up to 100% because there are other types of homeowners in an area, like married couples.

To find the figures for “Homeownership gender gap (number),” we simply subtracted the number of homes owned by single women in an area by the number of homes owned by single men in that same area. Similarly, we subtracted the percentage of homeowners who were single women by the percentage of homeowners who were single men to find the “Homeownership gender gap (percentage points).”

 

LendingTree research analyst Jacob Channel contributed to this report.

 

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