National Awareness Week Seeks to Change Every “Single” Stereotype

National Awareness Week Seeks to Change Every “Single” Stereotype

National Singles and Unmarried Week hopes to raise awareness of this growing segment of our population not only in America, but in the world.

National Awareness Week Seeks to Change Every “Single” Stereotype
Today’s single Americans — 43 percent of the population in the United States — are banding together and speaking out.

Whether single by choice or by circumstance, they are fighting to participate in the Family and Medical Leave Act and against working holidays solely because they don’t have kids.

They want competitive insurance rates and don’t want to sleep on mom’s couch when they visit home.

“Why should equal rights depend upon your marital status?” said Tom Coleman, executive director of Unmarried America, the group behind Unmarried and Single American Week which started Sunday. “One day you have equal rights because you’re married and the next day you lose a spouse and your auto [insurance] rates go up.”

The average American will spend more of her adult life unmarried than married, Coleman said.

 SINGLE FILE•  Nearly 96 million Americans 18 years old and older are single (never-married, divorced or widowed).•  There are more single-person households in the United States than married-couple households with children.•  34 percent of Asians, 39 percent of non-Hispanic Whites, 43 percent of Hispanics and 56 percent of African Americans in the United States are not married.•  11.6 million single parents live with and have primary responsibility for their children. 9.8 million of these are single mothers.Source: Bella DePaulo, Council on Contemporary Families

Nearly 96 million Americans over 18 years old are not married, a group that includes those who are divorced and widowed, said Bella DePaulo, a Harvard-trained social scientist, fellow at the Chicago-based Council on Contemporary Families and author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After.

Single people —gay or straight, alone or in a committed relationship outside of marriage — are paying more for everything from travel packages to dinners out, she said.

“Any kind of promotion where the more people you have, especially if they are a family unit, the less you pay, that’s being subsidized by single people who are paying full price,” she said. “These stereotypes persist, and the discriminatory practices persist.”

DePaulo cited studies which said that people’s happiness levels do not significantly boost when they marry. Research also refutes perceptions that singles are lonely and self-centered, she said.

“Several national surveys now show that single people are more likely than married people to be the ones who are reaching out and helping and supporting friends, siblings, neighbors and parents,” she said. “They do more of the intergenerational work of being there for aging parents.”

Yet they often don’t qualify for time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which covers caretaking of spouses, parents and children, Coleman said. Their caretakers might face similar restrictions, he said.

“It’s discriminatory,” he said. “Siblings don’t qualify, yet someone in their fourth marriage whose spouse is ill can take time off.”

Tom Giesler, 37, describes himself as a “fairly solitary person” not interested in marriage. He knows single people who have been called immature, selfish and been treated poorly while eating in restaurants alone.

“That’s a concern to me,” he said.

A registered nurse, Giesler said he is not anti-marriage but interested in changing broader attitudes about the single life.

“It’s still predominantly a married person’s world, and [marriage] is still seen as being the preferred state,” he said. “I think where we are moving is to see marriage as one option among several.”

Yasmin Nair, a writer, activist and academic believes “the whole marriage movement — straight or gay — has been careening in the wrong direction.”

“I’m feeling like single people’s rights are really being thrown aside,” she said. “There is all this talk about gay marriage being good for people to get all these benefits. What about for those who don’t want to get married?”

Re-posted courtesy of the Sun Time News Group.

An Invitation from Unmarried America Dear SingularCity members and visitors,You are invited to participate in one or more activities celebrating National Unmarried and Single Americans Week, also known as National Singles Week. This year, it is commemorated during September 20-26.In prior years some 60 Mayors and Governors in 33 states declared the third week of September as Unmarried and Single Americans Week in their jurisdictions. In 2003, the Census Bureau released a two-minute radio spot to start the week. The spot was distributed to 500 radio stations. This year and during the past two years, the Census Bureau has issued a special “Facts for Features” press release and data to commemorate this occasion.

When Unmarried America was an advocacy organization, it traditionally sent representatives to Washington D.C. during Unmarried and Single Americans Week where we visited the offices of all 535 members of Congress to share our concerns. Now that Unmarried America is an information service, we are making this website an educational endeavor, hoping that other groups and individuals will participate in various ways.

During Singles Week, we want the general public to know that 96 million unmarried Americans — and we now head up more than half of the nation’s households — deserve equal rights and fairness as workers, consumers, and taxpayers. We also want politicians and political parties to pay more attention to us as voters. That is more likely to happen if unmarried Americans speak out and spread this message.

We look forward to hearing from you whether you are a single person, a business owner, an elected representative, or a nonprofit organization. Tell us how you plan to celebrate National Singles Week so we can share your news with others.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas F. Coleman
Executive Director

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