Living Alone Isn’t So Lonely (Everybody’s Doing It)

Living Alone is a New Normal in America

Living alone in America is becoming the norm.  There are now 32.7 million “solo dwellers,” according to sociologists.  Women make up the larger group (17.2 million) to men (13.9 million).  NYU Sociologist Eric Klinenberg says, “Women do a much better job when they’re living alone.  They tend to make and maintain relationships much better than men throughout the life course, whereas for men it’s much more likely that they will wind up feeling lonely or unhappy or isolated.”

In Manhattan, nearly half of the urban dwellers live alone.  What perhaps used to be something people didn’t openly discuss is now generally socially accepted.  A now 39-year-old Manhattan solo dweller wrote a hugely popular piece about her alone bliss for the The Atlantic magazine that led to a book contract and TV series option.  (That’s what we call “making it” in America.)

And to think that I was just listening to “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” today on my iPod, but even Beyoncé doesn’t live alone anymore.

So what are the virtues and challenges of living alone?  Do you think that women fare better than men?  Does living alone mean lonely?


9 thoughts on “Living Alone Isn’t So Lonely (Everybody’s Doing It)

  1. I do not think living alone means lonely. Many urban areas seem to have lots of people who live alone. In Tokyo, many people come there and live by themselves to go to school or to have some better jobs than in country areas.
    In addition, I think it is good to live alone if we do not have to take care of some member of our family. We should be independent and living alone is the easiest way. This is also effective when we have a new family.

    I think women have more tendency to go out from their houses. It might be because women would see their parents doing housework and distinguish public (work) and private (home) more. I think men tend not to accept the difference of the number of people around them in their work and home. They might feel more lonely.

  2. I think living alone is not always lonely but it depends on the situation. I have a cousin who works as a businessman and is single. He said that the house is the place where he sleeps and he doesn’t feel lonely. The only thing that matters is that he is not good at tidying up (actually he tries). I also think that women are not treated equally as men are. Women start out more active than before but are sometimes still regarded for the figures that they used to have (especially when they are pregnant). It is, of course, a difficult problem because of gender so I don’t think women fare better than men.

  3. Since it is a lot more common in America to move out of their parent’s house once they are at a certain age, I think it is a lot more common for people to live alone in the U.S. than in Japan. Most people in Japan go to college from their house while almost everyone enters a dorm in the U.S. And so I think more people are accustomed to living away from their family and not feeling as lonely as those who have lived in Japan all their lives. Many of my friends who have family in other parts of Japan and are now living alone due to commute problems go back home once they have a break of more than 3 days and they say that since it is lonely to eat alone, they often eat dinner out with their friend or invite a friend over and eat in their house. I think that Japanese people have a tendency to feel more loneliness when alone, because they have grown up in an environment where there is usually at least one other person in the house at all times, hence never alone. It is a lot more common to live alone in the U.S.

  4. I think that living alone certainly gives us many difficulties like housework, but we, especially young people, can be an independent and social person by overcoming these troubles. Moreover, Henry David Thoreau wrote that it is wholesome to be alone the great part of the time. I think we don’t feel lonely simply because we live alone. There may be other reasons. In conclusion, I mean that living alone should be perceived more positively.

  5. I do not think that women always fare better than men. There are men who are good at and like doing chores. For example, some men are really good at cooking. I have a friend who behaves like a housewife when he is at home. His room is well organized even though he lives by himself. I believe that the number of that kind of men has been increasing these days in Japan. Therefore, the gender does not matter when living alone.

  6. The virtue of living alone is that you have all the time in the world to do whatever you want to do. The challenge is that you do not have people to rely on when you need them. However, this does not mean that living alone is lonely. People may live alone because they are busy with work or are satisfied with being busy with it. Some people may live alone because they have confidence in living by themselves. Plus, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter enable us to keep in touch with others so we do not feel that we are isolated from the world just because we live alone.

  7. I don’t think “living alone means lonely” because the way people feel happy and lonely all depends on each other.
    Some may feel happy living together with his/her partner, while others may feel completely the same way by living alone if they have some other things to pursue, e.g. their job or dreams. Additionally, as it’s written above, “everyone’s doing it.” Living alone is no longer an unusual case, especially in big cities, where both women and men have better opportunities to make some money. Thus the way to see living alone as lonely might be getting old-fashioned. With these reasons I came to the conclusion that living alone does not necessarily mean lonely.

  8. I think there in fact is a tendency for women to deal worse with living alone than men do, at least in Japan. The inclination appeared in marital surveys taken after the 3.11 earthquake last year. While men’s desires to marry stayed within 25% rise, those of women’s increased by 40%. This change in women’s minds is said to have been caused by their fears, financial for one thing. Since average wages still pay less for women and their posts are often of unascendable general duties, they worry more about their futures when their parents should die. However, it is also noted that the ideal annual income women expected of men has lowered from seven million yen to four million yen. In a country where everything is so expensive, this number is quite interesting. Perhaps capitalism is starting to fade away from so-called “marriage hunting.”

  9. Living alone has never been so easy thanks to the rise in digital communication. I think a lot of people take advantage of technology that can turn their single life into a joyful experience. I do not think there is any particular gender difference on that account, however, the high divorce rate in America is likely to draw a gender difference based on how people cope with such crisis.

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