Why Are More Of Us Choosing To Live Alone? Eric Klinenberg In Smithsonian
Klinenberg identifies four key factors that he thinks has attributed to the startlingly sharp increase of single households: the rise of women, the communication revolution, urbanization, and the longevity revolution. Since women entered the workforce, there has less economic pressure to get married or stay in a marriage and more opportunity to support themselves and buy their own homes. Secondly, the rise of communication has made it easier to stay connected with those around you without having to live with them—something that prevents singles from becoming isolated if they choose to live alone. Cities are also being developed to encourage solo living, as dense urban environments provide plenty of opportunities for singles to socialize outside of their immediate neighborhood or home. Finally, the elderly are experiencing a huge spike in solo-living because one spouse often outlives the other, leaving the remaining partner to live in the same home, only alone.
As he explains in his book and in his talks, living alone isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be a positive phenomenon, and social policies should not only reflect, but support, this trend. This change affects not only the single-dwellers themselves, but also cities and communities as a whole. "It seems to me," Klinenberg says in the interview, "that this is a social condition that’s here to stay." And, if cities like Stockholm (where more than 50 per cent of the residents live alone) are any indication, it's a trend that will only get bigger and more prominent over time.