More Americans Are Living Alone

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June 29, 2016

Pixabay Public Domain

“Whether you like it or not, alone is something you’ll be quite a lot!” Or so writes Dr. Seuss in his perennial bestseller Oh the Places You’ll Go. And as a new report from Zillow proves, that Dr. Seuss was a smart man. The share of adults who are living alone, which was increasing steadily for decades before leveling off for the past five years, has begun to march upwards once again.

In 1976, 11 percent of American adults lived alone. By the end of 2015 that total had risen to 15 percent. Historically, the prime ages for living alone occurred as young adults set out on their own for the first time, and at the end of their lives, often times a sign they have outlived their loved ones. While the share of young Americans who are living alone is still near its historical levels, middle-aged adults who have been getting divorced at an increased rate are the prime culprits of the overall increase. This increase is offset somewhat by a lower number of widows, however.

Men and women are equally likely to live alone through the age of 24 or 25, after that, men become much more likely to live alone. By their mid-50s, however, this trend reverses and the share of women living alone begins to increase rapidly while the share of men living along begins to stabilize.

Not everyone is more likely to live alone now, however. Women in their 60s and older are less likely to live alone today than in the past. Even with this number decreasing, women are still twice as likely as men to live alone toward the end of their lives.

For the full report and to view accompanying graphs and charts, follow the link below.

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