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Home Alone

1 Mins read

According to the latest stats from the U.S. Census, 27.6% of all U.S. households were one-person households in 2020. This is up from an astoundingly low 7.7% in 1940. Starting in the 1940s, the share of Americans living alone grew every decade, but the largest leap happened between 1970 and 1980, rising from 17.6% to 22.7%. Between 2010 and 2020, the share of those living alone grew from 26.7% to 27.6%.

Also, in that decade, the share of solo households headed by those aged 65 and older grew from 9.4% to 11.1%, while among those aged 15 to 64, the share declined from 17.3% to 16.5%.

This means fewer people in America are married. A 2022 report by the Current Population Survey shows 49.3% of Americans aged 15 and older were unmarried in 2022. Among those who are married, Statista reports that 67.9% are men and 68.5% are women.

Plus, overall, the percentage of married-couple households has steadily fallen:

  • 1990: 55%
  • 2015: 50%
  • 2019: 53%
  • 2022: 45%

Americans are postponing marriage as well. From 2015 to 2019, the median age women got married for the first time was 28. Statista reports that Census Bureau data shows that last year, the median average age for first marriage for men rose to 30.2 years and 28.4 years for women.  In the 1950s, the age of first marriage was 22.5 for men and 20.1 for women.

A report from Axios suggests this rise in solo living “can have consequences for mental and physical health—especially among older Americans” because America is “a country built for families.” Plus, the newsletter says “kinlessness is on the rise” among older Americans and “that trend will likely continue for younger generations as more people opt not to start families.”

Axios also notes that research shows that older people are isolated. adults face a greater risk of dying,  “whether that’s because no one is around to help in case of an accident or a fall or because the loneliness can prompt depression, anxiety, and accelerate cognitive decline.” That’s not to say all older single people are lonely or living sad lives.

This trend also presents many opportunities for entrepreneurs, including providing affordable housing, meal prep, in-home health care, accessible design, adult-proofing a house, and more.

If you want to learn more about trends for 2024, you can join me for a free webinar on January 10th at 11 AM ET from The University of Houston Texas Gulf Coast SBDC Network or on January 18 at 1 PM ET from SCORE.

New homeowner stock image by Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

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