Number of people living alone in US is highest it has been since 1970, with 3.4m living alone, up 1.3m from 2007 census figure
In the United States, more adult men and women are living alone. The number of people who live in single-family homes with no other family members increased from 56.3m in 2007 to 60.7m in 2016, according to the latest Census Bureau estimates. That marks the largest single-year increase in the number of single-family dwelling units since 1970.
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New census figures highlight a demographic change in the US population: more people are going to live in single-family homes alone.
A record 2.5m more Americans over the age of 40 live alone, and the proportion of single people living alone rose to 30.6% of all Americans. This is up from 28.3% in 2007, the previous high point for the number of Americans living alone.
This shift is partly a product of an increasing number of single-family homes, which climbed from an average of 9.5m in the 1970s to nearly 10m in 2016. At the same time, more Americans are moving out of family homes and into independent homes, according to the Census Bureau’s demographic forecasting branch.
Despite a shift from household to single-family homes, population growth has been supported by people becoming more mobile. Since the 2007 census, the number of Americans living in multigenerational households – adult children living with parents, college students living with grandparents – has doubled to 24.5m in 2016.
In general, however, the census survey’s 2016 estimates do not represent a new trend. Americans have been living more alone for decades, and will continue to do so as the baby boomer generation grows older.
A Gallup poll conducted last year found the US population was more likely to live alone than any other country in the developed world. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2015 the number of American adults living alone stood at 37.3m, a 3.3m increase since 2007.