If you’re a single female Baby Boomer and think that you’re a rare breed, think again. According to recent U.S. Census Data, out of all the Baby Boomers, as many as 28 million (37%) are single women.
Every year, Del Webb surveys a segment of the Baby Boomer population to better understand the activities, lifestyle, and habits of that generation. In 2015, for the first time since the survey began almost 20 years ago, Del Webb surveyed single female Boomers to get their perspective on life, careers, and relationships.
According to Del Webb, singles groups are among the most popular and fastest growing in their communities. These groups emphasize social interaction over romantic partnerships (although those occur too). Deborah Demos, Lifestyle Director at Sun City Mesquite, says that it "isn’t a ‘singles scene’ but more about creating a fun social environment.” Many single female Boomers seem to be responding to that approach, with 67% engaging in social activities outside their home at least once a month.
While the thought of retiring single fills some with dreadful feelings of loneliness, the survey shows that the opposite is true. When it comes to dating, 45% were not interested with 56% saying that they never go on dates. While there is a healthy segment of single female Boomers who do date (or are interested in dating), most are happy in their single life, choosing to spend their time and efforts accomplishing personal goals rather than actively seeking a partner.
Most female Boomers seemed to prefer the company of friends, as 66% of respondents said that they favor a dinner outing with friends or going to the movies. But Boomer bachelors looking for a date should expect to shell out a pretty penny: 47% of those who do date prefer a romantic night out.
Del Webb held one-on-one interviews with single female Boomers as a part of the project, with many of them responding that finding love is not a priority (only 5% want to find love, by the way). Some eschewed online dating, opting to allow falling in love to happen naturally, while others loved the curated aspect to dating sites like eHarmony and Match.com.
It’s possible that single female Boomers aren’t interested in dating because they’re singularly focused on their careers. Fifty percent of the respondents are still working with 79% satisfied in their current position. Many also intend to pursue encore careers once they do retire (approximately 20%) in different fields, to continue with a sense of purpose, not to mention income. Although for most Boomers, an encore career is less about money than it is about staying engaged, with 78% responding that their next career will not be out of necessity but rather out of a desire to stay active.
Active adult communities emphasize physical health, which single female Boomers seem to be drawn to. Of the respondents, 68% ranked healthy lifestyle as a top priority (excluding time with friends and family), while 63% responded that they spend time outdoors. Around a quarter of all respondents also placed importance on intellectual adventure, responding that they sought educational opportunities in the past five years.
All of this emphasis on maintaining a balance between physical, social, and mental health seems to have worked wonders on this population. A whopping 76% responded that they feel younger than their age, while the same number also claimed that they feel more confident now than they did at 35.
As for single female Boomers and housing, about half are planning on moving to better meet their housing needs. For those thinking about their next home, about one-third are planning to move to an age-targeted or age-restricted community. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. For as social, active, and determined this population is, 55+ communities would be delighted to welcome them to their neighborhood.
To read more about the findings of this survey, see Del Webb's results here.