going solo | February 14, 2013

Make Solo Living More Financially Feasible: Eric Klinenberg In The Economist

Some people believe that the rise in solo living points to the decaying of civil society. Eric Klinenberg, author of the breakthrough book Going Solo, disagrees. In fact, he argues that more people are choosing to live alone than ever before—and they're enjoying the independence that comes along with it. The Economist recently profiled Klinenberg's groundbreaking research, and documented the positive by-products of living alone. Young people, for example, see the move to a single person household as a right of passage they need to experience before settling down. It's a sign of accomplishment that shows their ability to make it on their own. Further, solo living has become especially prominent in elderly populations. Thanks to increasing life expectancies, people are living longer than ever before—many of whom without partners.

This enormous social shift has broad social and economic implications. It affects not only the solo dwellers themselves, but also the way we run our cities and how we decide which public policy initiatives need to be put on the agenda. Large metropolises, for example, tend to favor the young, single professional as they both work and play hard—stimulating local culture and the economy. As more people choose to live independently, there needs to be more effective support structures in place to make that lifestyle choice a more financially feasible one. It is much easier to live on your own when you are a young, healthy, and financially secure person. However, there are few affordable solutions for the older population who require assisted living arrangements and are no longer employed. Affordable housing and the increased availability of assisted-living facilities needs to be addressed, Klinenberg says, because more of us than ever are going to need these options. In his talks, he expands on these ideas to help audiences understand the far-reaching consequences of this trend, and how it will affect their lives going forward.

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authors | February 13, 2013