This month last year, for the first time in over 40 years, the percentage of single adult Americans tipped over 50% to about 50.2%. This is in stark contrast to the 1950s, when about 22% of adult Americans were single. So if you’re feeling bad about being single in your 30s, or feeling like a third wheel when you go to another BBQ at your married friends house, remember that the majority of us out there are single.
Surely there are lots of reasons for this trend, and lots of interesting speculation from experts in various disciplines. Eric Klinenberg, a sociology professor at New York University and the author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, had some interesting things to say about why people are choosing not to settle down.
“People are spending a big chunk of their lives — much of the 20s and even into their 30s, increasingly — becoming a grown up. They’re investing their time in their job, they feel anxious about their career and they’re having a very difficult time moving into that next stage of what we’ve traditionally thought of as grown-up life.” – Eric Klinenberg
I like that quote because it makes me feel better about the fact that often times I still feel like I’m clawing my way into adulthood.
Klinenberg also talked about how single people may be reluctant to give up living alone.
“People who live alone have a degree of control over their time and space that very few other people have. They have a chance for solitude, and kind of a productive solitude. We live in this moment of incredible hyper-connection and we’re always engaged with social life through social media. When you live alone, you have a little oasis in your apartment.”
Having lived alone for over three years, I can relate to that sentiment. While I also loved living with a partner, there’s an undefinable sweet joy about creating a “room of one’s own.”
So what do you think? Is this a trend that will continue to rise upward?