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Surprising study reveals a gender gap in foreclosure rates

(HOUSING DATA) You may have heard about the housing gender gap, but have you ever wondered if there’s a foreclosure gender gap? A recently released study answers this question and it may surprise you.

Women earn less than men, per Uncle Sam

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women earned 19 percent less than men on average in 2015, giving them reduced purchasing power when it comes to buying a new home. It might make you wonder if that wage gap translates into a housing and foreclosure gender gap.

While there are conflicting opinions on this, a new study from ATTOM Data Solutions, the parent company to RealtyTrac, suggests the answer is “yes.” A few months ago, ATTOM conducted a similar study which examined the housing gender gap, and now they’ve conducted a follow-up to address the foreclosure gender gap.

What the study found

The foreclosure gap study looked at tax assessor records and publicly recorded foreclosure filings for more than 5 million single family homes and condos nationwide where the primary homeowner was identified as an individual man or an individual woman. The analysis did not, however, include homes owned by married couples when both were listed as homeowners, or other joint homeownership situations.

Defining the gender gap

[clickToTweet tweet=”Despite making less money, it appears women have lower foreclosure rates than men. #stats” quote=”Keeping this in mind, along with the fact that some men may make more money than some women, women do a slightly better job of holding onto their homes and avoiding foreclosure, according to the study. “]

The only exception is for single men homeowners, who have a lower foreclosure rate than single women homeowners. Based on the analysis, married men and widowers both have higher foreclosure rates than married women and widows.

Let’s get down to the numbers

The foreclosure rate gap was even bigger between married men and married women homeowners: 83 out of every 10,000 homes with an individual married man listed as the primary homeowner were in foreclosure, whereas individual married woman made up only 66 out of every 10,000.

Surprisingly, the biggest foreclosure rate gender gap was among widowed homeowners. The foreclosure rate for widowers was 112 out of every 10,000 homes while the foreclosure rate for widows was 94 out of every 10,000 homes.

Again, the one exception to the rule was among single and unmarried homeowners where homes owned by women had higher foreclosure rates on average (73 out of every 10,000 homes) than those owned by men (70 out of every 10,000 homes).

What does this say about foreclosures overall?

What does this study say about the foreclosure market as a whole? Does the simple fact that a study like this is necessary say something about the prevalence of foreclosures? I think it does. I think it says that while foreclosures may be dwindling in some markets, they are still affecting a large percentage of homeowners. However, these types of studies give us better insight into how the gender gap affects all different aspects of life, including foreclosures. Did you find any of the data surprising?


Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.


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