This Is Why It's Better to Be Single, According to Science

Not having a Valentine suddenly seems very smart.

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You've been saying for years that there are a million reasons why it's better to be single. And science has finally confirmed it.

Single people value meaningful work more than married people and they're also more connected to their parents, siblings, friends, neighbors and coworkers, according to Bella DePaulo, a scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara who researched the topic for a 2016 paper (opens in new tab). "When people marry, they become more insular," DePaulo explains.

And if you're independent, you're even better off. DePaulo found that self-sufficient single people who were analyzed for a lifelong study were less likely to experience negative emotions. The opposite was true for married people.

Plus, there are more single people out there than ever before. DePaulo points out that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (opens in new tab), there were 124.6 million unmarried Americans over the age of 16—that's a little more than half. In 1976, just 37% of the population was single.

"More than ever before, Americans can pursue the ways of living that work best for them. There is no one blueprint for the good life," she concludes. "What matters is not what everyone else is doing or what other people think we should be doing, but whether we can find the places, the spaces and the people that fit who we really are and allow us to live our best lives."

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Kate Storey is a contributing editor at Marie Claire and writer-at-large at Esquire magazine, where she covers culture and politics. Kate's writing has appeared in ELLE, Harper's BAZAAR, Town & Country, and Cosmopolitan, and her first book comes out in summer 2023.