It is estimated that by 2021, over 35% of all households in the UK will be people living alone.
Single-person households now account for 29% of all UK homes, up from 18% in 1971, and this trend is expected to continue.
But contrary to the stereotype of lonely old spinsters and playboy bachelors, 96% of those polled in a survey for Unilever say its good to live on your own before settling down. Indeed, 51% of people aged 25 to 34 believe that solo living is just a temporary stage, and 77% say moving in with a partner would be the most likely reason for a change in their living arrangements.
Many of the people polled feel living alone has a positive impact of their relationships with partners and family, as well as career and friendships. Therefore, over a quarter say they would like to continue living alone indefinitely.
However, living alone isnt cheap and 55% of solo livers say it has a negative effect on their disposable income. Rent and bills take up a high proportion of the income of people living alone, and women and those on low incomes are most likely to experience a negative financial impact.
The most dramatic growth in the number of people living alone is seen among men aged under 65; their numbers have tripled since 1971. In the 25 to 44 age group, 15% of men go it alone compared with 8% of women.
Despite this, men are more likely to feel lonely than women – 56% of men admit they miss the company of flatmates, family or partners.