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Living Alone on the Rise

More people than ever are living alone. That’s according to a new family profile from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR) at Bowling Green State University. Researchers found the percentage of households with just one person has more the doubled since 1960 from 13% to 27%.

One-person households are currently the second most common type after married-couple households, with the majority of solo dwellers living in large metropolitan areas such as Washington, DC; Dallas; San Francisco; and New York.

"Living solo is often ignored as an option in our studies of family life," says Wendy Manning, PhD, codirector of the NCFMR. "There is variability in the experiences of living alone. We expect some folks prefer this living arrangement while others view it as a short-time living situation."

Many factors are contributing to this trend, including people choosing to wait longer to get married and have children, longer life expectancies, better financial security in older adults, and the increase in divorce rates among middle-aged to older adults.

"As the baby boomers age we expect to see a continual rise in living solo as older Americans experience widowhood and divorce," Manning says.

Researchers found the majority of adults living alone are women, are over age 55, and were previously married.

Broken down by ethnicity, native-born Hispanic and Asian adults are half as likely as African American or white adults to live alone, and foreign-born Hispanic adults are the least likely to live solo.

— Source: Bowling Green State University