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California is No. 1 for single female homeowners

”Survey says” looks at various rankings and scorecards judging geographic locations while noting these grades are best seen as a mix of artful interpretation and data.

Buzz: California has more single women homeowners than any other state.

Source: My trusty spreadsheet analyzed 2021 homeownership stats – by gender and size of household – from the Census Bureau and compiled by LendingTree.

Topline

California had the largest number of single-female owners among the states at 856,479. Then came Florida at 854,297, Texas at 699,974, New York at 594,728, and Pennsylvania at 487,999.

California was also No. 1 for single men at 601,849, followed by Florida at 591,712, Texas at 562,909, New York at 421,470 and Pennsylvania at 384,182.

Details

California has 42% more women who are single homeowners than men vs. a 33% difference nationwide.

The nation’s biggest gap was found in Maryland at 51%, then New Jersey at 49%, Massachusetts at 49%, Vermont at 47% and Rhode Island at 46%,

And just two states had more single male owners than female: North Dakota with 13% more men owners and South Dakota at 6%.

As the most populous state, California’s lofty placement for single owners is hardly a surprise.

But when it came to the single owner’s share of all owner-occupied households, however, California’s rankings tumbled.

Single women were just 11.4% of all California owners, the eighth-lowest among the states. Utah was at the bottom at 9%, then Texas at 10.4%, Idaho at 10.8%, New Hampshire at 11% and North Dakota at 11.1%.

Tops? Louisiana at 15.2%, then Alabama at 15%, South Carolina, Florida and New Mexico at 14.8%.

For men, California’s 8% share was second-lowest behind Utah’s 7%. Then came New Jersey at 8.2%, Texas at 8.3%, and Massachusetts at 8.7%.

Tops? North Dakota at 12.7%, then Wyoming at 12.1%, South Dakota at 12%, Mississippi at 11.6%, and New Mexico at 11.4%.

Bottom line

If the typical woman earns less than her male peer, why do they seem to succeed at single homeownership in 48 of 50 states?

There’s no simple answer.

Wages do matter. Look at the two states at the extremes of ownership: Maryland, where single ownership most favors women, and North Dakota, No. 1 in ownership for men. Then consider their wage gaps for all workers, according to one federal study.

Men’s annual wages, adjusted for the local cost of living, are essentially equal to around $61,000. Yet pay for women runs $54,000 in Maryland and just $45,000 in North Dakota. California, by the way, had male wages at $53,000, by this math, and women at $46,000.

But wage gaps may not matter for all. Ponder one slice of potential homeowners – with a modest wage shortfall – that’s rapidly growing: single women who’ve never been married with full-time jobs.

This demographic has grown 48% since 1988 vs. 26% for men, my trusty spreadsheet tells me. Women in this slice of the workforce earned 94% of comparable men’s pay in 2020 vs. an 82% gap for all female workers.

However, single ownership may be as much about age as it’s about various wealth factors.

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Take the 10 states with the biggest ownership gaps favoring women. The average age is 40. The bottom 10 states of the same ranking averaged 38 years old.

Or consider that younger states are often filled with family owners. Older states tend to have more single ownership partly due to the deaths of one member of a home-owning couple – and women usually outlive men. 

California, with the third-lowest share of single owners at 19.4%, is the sixth-youngest state. Utah, the youngest state, has the lowest share of single owners (15.8%). And Texas, with the second-lowest share at 18.7%, is the third-youngest state.

Then look at the oldest state, Maine. It has the 14th-highest share of single ownership at 24%. Second-oldest was Florida with 24.7% single ownership, ranking it sixth. And third-oldest West Virginia has 24.7% single ownership, No. 9.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at jlansner@scng.com

 

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