Although U.S. women still trail men, they are pulling ahead financially in one important way of building wealth: homeownership.
A recent study from LendingTree shows that single women own 2.7 million more homes than their male counterparts, with roughly 13% of those women holding the titles to their homes, compared to 10% of men.
“A home for most people is going to represent the biggest portion of their overall net worth,” Jacob Channel, senior economist at LendingTree and author of the report, told CBS MoneyWatch. “Owning a home helps you access considerably more wealth.”
Women have historically faced social and economic barriers to wealth creation, and they continue to earn an average of just 82 cents for every dollar men earn for the same work, according to the Pew Research Center.
LendingTree’s study is based on an analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey and accounts for demographic factors including homeowners’ age, income, education and racial background.
According to LendingTree, single female homeowners outnumber their male peers in 47 states, with the rate of female homeownership as high as 15% in states like Delaware and Louisiana. However, single males owned more homes than single women in Alaska, North Dakota and South Dakota, likely because of the prevalence of male-dominated industries in those states, Channel said.
Home equity accounts for nearly 28% of household wealth on average, according to a 2020 U.S. Census Bureau report. Channel notes that most homes are owned by couples and families. And overall, American women’s net worth still falls well below that of men. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the median wealth of women-headed households is 45% lower than those headed by men.
“If there’s one really important thing about this study, it’s that there’s a lot going on here that’s influencing women’s wealth, and we’ll need a lot more information before we can really definitively say why things are the way they are,” Channel said.
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