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Number of Single Person Households Increasing

By Allison Halliday | May 27, 2015

Just 100 years ago less than 6% of all households consisted of a single person living alone, but in 2013 that had increased to 28%. Now single person households are the second most common household type.

According to data from the US Census Bureau, there are now more single households than married households with minor children, as this percentage is currently 19%, and single households are right behind married couples without minor children, at 29%. The majority of these single households are due to an increase in the number of women living alone. Nowadays 54% of single person households are headed by women.


The article in points out that in the past living alone might have been a short-term option but for many it is now turned into a long-term solution. This is due to people living longer, marrying later in life, higher divorce rates, smaller family sizes and growing financial independence amongst women. The number of single person households also boosted by stronger government safety nets that extend across a wider range of social programs.

Single person households’ account for 45% of all households in large cities, and in some areas in Washington, DC and in Manhattan, single person households can account for nearly two thirds of all households. These single person households aren’t a generational thing either, as about 28% of all single person households are headed by people under the age of 45, some 36% are between the ages of 45 and 64 and another 36% are over the age of 65. Many people living on their own also own their own property.

According to data from the 2013 American Housing Survey, 54% of single person households are owner occupied and during the 10 years previous, owner occupiers accounted for 55% of the growth in single person households. This is quite a change around because as recently as 1940, some 61% of single person households were occupied by renters.

Not surprisingly, the older a person is the more likely they are to own their own property. Some two thirds of those living in single person households under the age of 45 rent their property whereas 70% of those aged over 65 own their own home. There are further differences between the types of properties occupied by a single person owners and renters. Around three quarters of single person renters live in multifamily housing, but three quarters of those who own their own property tend to live in single-family detached units.

Allison Halliday is a Realty Biz News contributing writer. She handles International Real Estate and is a seasoned blogger.
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