Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Family Demise; 1/3 of Households are People Alone

Nearly every demographic of the western industrialized world points toward population decline -- be it birth rates, abortion rates, contraceptive usage, etc. At the root is the societal shift away from the traditional family (including marriage) in favor of transient relationships, as well as people simply living alone, which U.S. census figures show to be at least 28% of all households, or perhaps nearly one-third.
". . . it’s time to embrace new ideas about romance and family—and to acknowledge the end of “traditional” marriage as society’s highest ideal."
-- Kate Bolick, The Atlantic
For background, read No Marriage in Most U.S. Households: Census and also read Most Non-committal Cohabitants' First Marriage Ends as well as Feminism = Women's Loss of Sexual Advantage

-- From "A Room of One’s Own FTW!" by Gaije Kushner, Weld for Birmingham 3/26/12

. . . [New York University] sociologist Eric Klinenberg’s latest book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, was published last month . . .

In 1950 9 percent of Americans, aout 4 million people lived alone. According to the 2010 census, those numbers have skyrocketed, with 31 million people, comprising about 28 percent of the households, are on our own.

. . . An honest look at how and why people are choosing the pleasure of their own company over that of sharing their homes would require us to reappraise the meaning and value of marriage as we currently define it.

. . . Given the extent to which their increasing numbers are driven by feminism and its fruits – more and better educational and professional opportunities for women, later first marriages, etc. – and the 3 million more women than men living alone, it’s no surprise the criticism has been largely directed at [those living alone].

. . . Discussing the book, Kleinenberg himself seems similarly deluded, saying he went from seeing the increasing numbers of people living alone as a social problem, to seeing it as a, “social experiment,” and endlessly repeating his apparently astonishing discovery that people who live alone aren’t necessarily tragic shut ins, but in fact, “tend to spend more time socializing with friends and neighbors than people who are married.”

To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.

From "Living alone and loving it" by Sue McAllister, San Jose Mercury News 3/27/12

Nearly a third of American households are made up of adults living by themselves, with no roommates, spouses, partners or family members in the household.

The increase in singleton living is most pronounced in metropolitan areas, Klinenberg says . . .

The reasons for the increase in adults living alone are many. First of all, Klinenberg says, rising prosperity in the last several decades meant more people could afford to live alone. Subsidized housing, in-home care and public transportation have all played a part in allowing more people to live solo. And as more women entered the paid labor market, "they gained the capacity to delay marriage and also to end a bad marriage without sentencing themselves to a lifetime of poverty or moving back into their families' homes," he says.

Technology -- starting with telephones and television -- provides another reason solo living has become more palatable to some. "When you add in Skype and Facebook and email and Meetup and Craigslist and all of the things on the Internet, suddenly you can be deeply connected to other people and ideas" even while living alone, Klinenberg says.

The age group that's experienced the biggest increase in singletons since the 1950s is the 18- to 34-year-olds, says Klinenberg. Many young adults choose to live with roommates when they first leave their parents homes or finish college. But living alone is a goal for many, especially when the excitement of coming home to roommates' surprise house guests has worn off.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Living alone, not lonely" by Steve Scauzillo, Pasadena Star-News 3/1/12

When [Klinenberg] began this seven-year project, he thought like most sociologists think, that society was going to hell in a handbasket. . . . But what started as "alone in America" his original hypothesis . . . became something completely opposite.

Klinenberg found living alone on the rise - by choice. . . .

But America is not the leader in living alone. Scandinavian countries such as Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway have more than 40 percent living in one-person households. In Stockholm, the number is 60 percent.

We seem to be "puzzling over how to live now. We are creating a new way of living ... of organizing our personal lives that we have never done before as a species," he concluded.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Will living alone make you depressed?" by Amanda Gardner, Health Magazine (posted at 3/23/12

It's long been known that elderly people are more prone to depression and other mental-health problems if they live on their own. New research suggests the same pattern may also be found in younger, working-age adults.

In a study of nearly 3,500 men and women ages 30 to 65, researchers in Finland found that people who lived alone were more likely that their peers to receive a prescription for antidepressant drugs.

"Living alone may be considered a mental-health risk factor," says lead author Laura Pulkki-RÃ¥back, Ph.D., a lecturer at the University of Helsinki's Institute of Behavioral Sciences. The study was published today in the journal BMC Public Health.

"People living alone were more cynical in their attitudes," she explains. "Being cynical and living alone may predispose to hopelessness and negative feelings, ultimately leading to depression."

On the other hand, she adds, "Cynical people may also have ended up living alone because they are difficult to deal with."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "The High Price of Living Alone" by Kimberly Palmer, senior editor for U.S. News & World Report 3/1/12

“[Living alone] has a real value to people and they’re willing to find a way to afford it,” says Klinenberg.

In addition to [higher] housing costs, solo-livers generally pay more for utilities, telephone service, and groceries, although Klinenberg points out that grocers are increasingly adding more options for single-sized purchases and prepackaged meals for one.

[Klinenberg says:] Living alone is especially desirable to young adults who increasingly delay getting married and having children. They see going solo as a key way to become an adult. For them, the choice to live alone is often the choice not to live with roommates or their parents. They are especially likely to make sacrifices in other parts of their lives so they can get the privacy, anonymity, and control that comes from having a place of your own.

That’s true for older adults, too. They’re paying an enormous premium to live in assisted living facilities. It gives the experience of going solo while being connected to a world of service providers and companions. Families literally move themselves close to bankruptcy to make sure their older relatives have the luxury of living alone as long as they can. That’s a huge change from 100 years ago, where the majority of widows and widowers lived with family.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "All the Single Ladies" by Kate Bolick, The Atlantic - November 2011

In the 1990s, Stephanie Coontz, a social historian at Evergreen State College in Washington, noticed an uptick in questions from reporters and audiences asking if the institution of marriage was falling apart.

What Coontz found was even more interesting than she’d originally expected. In her fascinating Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage, she surveys 5,000 years of human habits, from our days as hunters and gatherers up until the present, showing our social arrangements to be more complex and varied than could ever seem possible. She’d long known that the Leave It to Beaver–style family model popular in the 1950s and ’60s had been a flash in the pan, and like a lot of historians, she couldn’t understand how people had become so attachLinked to an idea that had developed so late and been so short-lived.

“Today we are experiencing a historical revolution every bit as wrenching, far-reaching, and irreversible as the Industrial Revolution,” she wrote.

To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.

From "One Is the Quirkiest Number" by Steven Kurutz, New York Times 2/22/12

What emerges over time, for those who live alone, is an at-home self that is markedly different — in ways big and small — from the self they present to the world. We all have private selves, of course, but people who live alone spend a good deal more time exploring them.

For people who are comfortable and even good at living alone, there is often another concern: a fear that the concrete has set, so to speak, on their domestic habits and that it will be difficult to go back to living with someone else.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Russians Face Extinction from Abortion as well as The Religious Procreate, Others Don't