The Growing Power of Single Women
The rise in single women translates into greater political power and more
“In the near future, American politics, both national and local, may turn on the degree to which people remain single, and also whether they decide to have children.”
That declaration appeared in an article by Joel Kotkin and Samuel J. Abrams, The Rise of the Single Woke (and Young, Democratic) Female, published in RealClear and picked up by a number of other media outlets. The “woke” label was not meant as a compliment, and the article is pocked with nods to culture-war obsessions (drag queens, definitions of gender that are not just biological, those women in higher education with their feminist ideologies and how they are hurting men, etc., etc.). And yet, perhaps in spite of themselves, the authors do make a strong case for the rising power of single women.
I have been keeping track of Census Bureau data for years, and the evidence for the increase in single people (not just women) and people who live alone (a subset of single people) is quite compelling. Kotkin and Abrams focus specifically on the growing numbers of women who stay single and the decreasing numbers of women who are married or married with children. (They are interested in the rise of singles in the U.S., but these trends are global.) With growing numbers comes growing potential to influence not just politics, but also attitudes, values, and practices.
Single women are politically powerful. In theory, they could use that power to support any political party, but in practice, they support Democrats. In the 2022 midterms, the Democrats did far better than expected, despite all the predictions of a red wave or even a tsunami. Of four groups — single women, single men, married women, and married men — single women were the only ones who voted Democratic in those midterms, and by a lot: 68%. It looks like they carried the Democrats over the finish line. As the authors noted, “single, childless women are joining African Americans as the Democrats’ most reliable supporters.”
A hint that this may continue into the future is that younger women are much more likely than older…