I didn't find any figures for Canada but the number of people choosing to live without a partner these days is skyrocketing globally -- from about 153 million in 1996 to 277 million in 2011 – an increase of around 80% in 15 years.1 That's an alarming rate. When you stop to think about it, you probably know as many single people as you do married/common-law couples.
According to Eric Klinenberg , New York University sociology professor and author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, he says there are a number of factors that are contributing towards this growing trend. But one of the main reasons is simply because we can afford to do it.
Technology and modernization has advanced exponentially since the second world war, and we don't have the same needs as a couple in the early 20th century. Automobiles, telephones, the media and the Internet have all played a major role in a major shift of what was once considered a conventional family. In an article on the CBC website it says:
" Klinenberg shows, most solo dwellers are deeply engaged in social and civic life. In fact, compared with their married counterparts, they are more likely to eat out and exercise, go to art and music classes, attend public events and lectures, and volunteer. There's even evidence that people who live alone enjoy better mental health than unmarried people who live with others and have more environmentally sustainable lifestyles than families, since they favor urban apartments over large suburban homes..."2
There is a BIG difference in going it alone as to feeling alone. Watch the PBS interview below with Mr. Klinenberg as he discusses his book.
Becky Toyne, a frequent contributor to CBC Radio One and Open Book: Toronto had this to say:
"Going Solo is predominantly for middle-class, North American, downtown-dwelling singletons, and as a reader who fits squarely into that category, I did not close the book disappointed."3
With eye-opening statistics, original data, and vivid portraits of people who go solo, Klinenberg upends conventional wisdom to deliver the definitive take on how the rise of living alone is transforming the North American experience. GOING SOLO is a powerful and necessary assessment of an unprecedented social change.
1Eric Klinenberg, author: I want to be alone: the rise and rise of solo living
2CBC: The rise of the singleton society;
3Becky Toyne Book Review: Going Solo, by Eric Klinenberg in the National Post
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