For decades, single people have been disadvantaged by governments, the housing market, and businesses. People who run a household on their own are likely to have higher expenses with everything. They have proportionally higher living costs and often pay more taxes. And although over a third of all households consist of one person – with this proportion only increasing, the government does nothing about it. Therefore, as a single person, you are financially disadvantaged in terms of inheritance law, tax system, waste disposal charges, discounts on subscriptions, allowances, leave arrangements, and so on. 

Five examples

Single is usually not an official category

Some government agencies and organisations only allow you to choose between married, divorced or not married when it comes to marital status. In short, single is not a status; you have to be together. All while 3.1 million people are single.

86% of young people feel that a relationship is the norm

It used to be the most normal thing in the world: getting married young and then spending the rest of your life with your partner, getting a house, making a home, and all that stuff. Nowadays, it’s different. But whether being single is normal in our society? 3Vraagt did research together with 3FM HUMAN. This research showed that nine out of ten young people feel that a relationship is the norm. One of the research participants said: “Relationships seem to be the end station. No one ever asks partners when they will be single again, but they always ask singles when they are going to be in a relationship again.” 

Emancipation of singles lags behind too long

When writing policy, people in The Hague think very much in terms of relationships and families. Singles seem not to exist or are forgotten, even though the Netherlands earns money from singles. An example of this is the tax on the inheritance of a single person. An 87-year-old singles activist said, “The Netherlands is booming thanks to the single person.” Policies need to be adjusted, especially when you hear calculations that around 2050, half of the Netherlands will be single. 

Petition: ‘Alone is okay’

Meanwhile, the discontent among single people is only growing, and there are several initiatives to draw attention to the position of single people. Theatre maker Marjon Moed, herself single, therefore started a signature campaign. Moed presented the petition in June 2021 to the most famous single person in our country: Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The petition’s goal is to change laws and regulations so that the government and businesses can no longer treat single people economically unequally and discriminate against them.

It is time to let go of the clichés

Flemish Minister of Living Together, Bart Somers, wants to investigate whether the concept of ‘marital status’ should be expanded. Not only for singles but also for other family forms. 

Of all households in Flanders, 32% are living alone. According to the Federal Planning Bureau, one in two homes will be single by 2060. Somers says: “Despite the figures, people still look at singles as something purely temporary. An intermediate stage in life while one has to look for a lover. We see that all TV programs about singles are dating programs. This is an outdated image of society that does not correspond with reality, and many people are consciously choosing to go through life as a single. Together with organisations that are committed to singles, we must put an end to the prevailing clichés.”

Resources:

Campaigning for singles: ‘Single person gets no allowance with same income’: https://www.ad.nl/geld/actie-voeren-voor-singles-alleenstaande-krijgt-met-zelfde-inkomen-geen-toeslag~ab314b20/

‘Table for one please!’: https://www.human.nl/3fm/lees/2021/juni/singlegoals-3.html

Only is okay: https://petities.nl/petitions/alleen-is-oke?locale=nl

Bart Somers wants to tackle discrimination against singles: https://bartsomers.be/nieuwsberichten-detail-page/bart-somers-wil-discriminatie-van-alleenstaanden-aanpakken/?lid=6755

Are singles being discriminated against? https://www.bnnvara.nl/artikelen/worden-singles-gediscrimineerd

Research: 86% of young people experience that a relationship is the norm: https://www.npo3fm.nl/nieuws/human/f691d792-2819-4734-b525-ac9f3a876807/onderzoek-86-van-de-jongeren-ervaart-dat-een-relatie-de-norm-is