“Two can live as cheaply as one” isn’t actually accurate, but it is true that per-person living expenses are lower for room-mates (usually spouses) than for singles. The largest expense (housing) is split. Also, a spouse provides important support in case of emergency.
This has been known basically forever, but the size of the marriage advantage is amazingly high among today’s young adults and growing.
**Inflation Widens Married Couples’ Money Lead Over Their Single Friends**
**Rapidly rising prices and more than two years of living in a pandemic increase the financial stress on those without pooled assets**
**By Julia Carpenter, The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 15, 2022**
**It is better, financially, to be married than single, as has almost always been the case. But the money gap between young married couples and singles has widened, thanks to inflation and rising home prices.**
**The median net worth of married couples 25 to 34 years old was nearly nine times as much as the median net worth of single households in 2019, according to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In 2016, married households’ median net worth was four times as much. And now, after a spell of rapid inflation and more than two years of pandemic living, single people are getting left further behind, say economists at the Fed and elsewhere....**
**Over the past four decades, the number of sole-person households has nearly doubled, according to data from Freddie Mac. And by delaying marriage, many now struggle to access money milestones at the ages previous generations achieved them. ... Housing affordability in June 2022 hit its worst level since June 1989, and home prices are up 44% over the past two years...** [end quote]
The Macro impact of financially-inefficient single living is that the sole-person households will have less to spend on consumer goods and services since they are (in aggregate) spending more on housing. They will also be stuck on the rental treadmill since starter homes are being bid out of affordability for a single paycheck.
Of course, marriage isn’t the only way to access the benefits of shared living. But it’s by far the commonest. And in an emergency, a spouse is more likely to pitch in than a room-mate.