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How to Boost Your Productivity with Time Blocking

Unveiling the Financial Realities of the “Singles Tax” for Solo Dwellers: A Comprehensive Study

Living alone may seem like a liberating choice, but it comes with a financial burden known as the “singles tax.” According to a recent study conducted by real estate marketplace Zillow, this tax can accumulate to thousands of dollars annually, especially in cities like New York City. Let’s delve into the findings of this study and explore the implications for solo dwellers across the United States.

The Impact of the “Singles Tax”

The study reveals that in New York City, single renters shell out an average of $40,200 per year to maintain a one-bedroom residence, while couples can split the cost, each paying approximately $20,100 annually. This stark contrast highlights the significant financial strain faced by individuals living alone, with the additional $20,100 surpassing the national average “singles tax” of $7,110, as per Zillow data.

Cost Disparities Across Cities

Examining the data further, we uncover the most expensive cities for solo living based on the average extra costs incurred by single dwellers in 2023. These cities include New York City, San Francisco, San Jose, California, Washington, D.C., Boston, San Diego, Seattle, Atlanta, Denver, and Los Angeles. The correlation between high housing costs and the magnitude of the “singles tax” becomes evident, with these cities boasting some of the largest housing expenses in the U.S.

Root Causes and Economic Dynamics

The exorbitant housing costs in cities like New York City can be attributed to various factors, including soaring rental prices and a dearth of housing supply. Kenny Lee, an economist at Zillow-owned real estate marketplace StreetEasy, underscores the longstanding issue of renter demand outpacing the creation of new housing stock. This imbalance perpetuates the financial strain on solo dwellers, exacerbating the impact of the “singles tax.”

Beyond Housing: Additional Financial Burdens

While housing expenses constitute a significant portion of the “singles tax,” other costs further contribute to the financial challenges faced by solo individuals. These expenses encompass food, healthcare, transportation, and entertainment. Analyzing estimates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), we observe the considerable disparity in annual expenses between single-person households and two-person households, emphasizing the financial advantage of shared living arrangements.

Navigating Cost Inefficiencies

Notably, the financial implications extend beyond mere duplication of expenses for couples. Factors such as bulk purchasing discounts and cost efficiencies in shared expenditures like food and transportation confer economic benefits to cohabiting individuals. However, the disproportionate burden of housing costs remains a formidable obstacle for solo dwellers, overshadowing potential savings in other areas.


The concept of the “singles tax” sheds light on the financial realities faced by individuals living alone, particularly in metropolitan areas characterized by exorbitant housing expenses. While shared living arrangements offer certain economic advantages, the overarching challenge lies in addressing the disproportionate burden of housing costs on solo dwellers. As policymakers and stakeholders strive to alleviate housing affordability concerns, understanding and mitigating the impact of the “singles tax” remains imperative for fostering financial inclusivity and well-being in diverse communities.


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