If you’re living alone now that you’re separated, you are actually not alone. According to a new study from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, more people than ever are living by themselves, with the overall percentage of solo households more than doubling since 1960 from 13 to 27 percent.
In fact, say researchers, one-person households are currently the second most common type after married-couple households, with the majority of solo dwellers living in large metropolitan areas such as Washington, D.C., Dallas, San Francisco, New York, and right here at home in New Jersey.
Many factors are contributing to this trend, including people choosing to wait longer to get married and have children, longer life expectancies, better financial security in older adults and the increase in divorce rates among middle-aged to older “baby boomer” adults. According to the Census data used in the study, the majority of adults living alone are women over age 55, and previously married. Broken down by ethnicity, native-born Hispanic and Asian adults are half as likely as African American or white adults to live alone, and foreign-born Hispanic adults are the least likely to live solo.
When you’re new to living solo, being alone may feel lonely… but it doesn’t have to! Here are some tips for making the transition:
- Invite people over: Simply extending an invitation to a friend or family member to come over for dinner or spend an afternoon watching a movie is an easy way to feel more connected. It may sound like a no-brainer, but in this day and age when we spend so much time on our phones and online social networks, it’s easy forget the loneliness-busting potential of face-to-face contact.
- Get to your know your neighbors: Whether you’re new to the building or block or have lived there for decades, come up with reasons to interact more with your neighbors, even if it’s just to wave and say hello. If you’re consistent, chances are some of these hellos will lead to conversations and hopefully deeper connections and friendships.
- Get a pet: As cliche as this may sound, dogs and cats can be great companions. Before bringing a pet home, just do some research on whether the breed will be a good match for your circumstances, especially when it comes to adopting a dog if you need to be at work most of the day. The right pet, however, can become a friend for life!
What tips do you have for living alone?