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People are Choosing to Live Alone

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

By Shannon Peel

Single woman moves into home to live alone

Finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with is getting harder. It's so hard that many are giving up and embracing the independence of living a single life. Statistics show that single-occupant homes have more than doubled over the last four decades, and this trend is only continuing to grow in Canada and the US. The living-alone movement began in the 1960s as the baby boomers valued their independence from parents, women wanted careers, and divorce rates rose.

According to Stats Can, "Since the beginning of the 20th century, the average size of households in Canada has decreased, from 5.0 persons in 1901 to 2.4 persons in 2016. Along with smaller households, the proportion of one-person households grew rapidly, from 7% in 1951 to 28% in 2016, the highest level on record." In the US, the trend was very similar, "In 2020, approximately 36.2 million people were living in single-person households in the United States." (

The trend continued over the last thirty years, with X-gen and Millennials increasingly living independently. Some people never married, while others divorced and decided not to look for a partner in favor of living on their own. This idea can be seen in the numbers as the most significant growth in single occupancy households is the 35-64 age group. Even though people choose to live alone, they still need connection and community for their mental health.

To fulfill their need for social interaction, single people develop intricate lives outside of their homes at work, go out with friends, to the gym, classes, or a meet-up group. They have the best of both worlds - community connection and solitude at home.

Covid Impact on People who Live Alone

Many businesses facilitate their need for community by bringing individuals together for activities, be it a yoga class, a painting night, or a running group. These regularly scheduled get-togethers helped single people to socialize with others without having to invite them over or plan dinner parties in their homes.

Single people were successfully living a well-balanced life, and then COVID-19 shut everything down and forced people into their homes. For many, that meant more time with family than they wanted; for single people, it meant isolation. Many increased the amount of time they spent on social media and interacting on regular Zoom calls to feel connected to other people and less lonely.

Connecting with people from all over the world with the click of a mouse has helped many people cope during lockdowns and social distancing. Whether you are having dinner with family members hundreds of miles apart or texting with a new Tinder match, connection and community are still possible, though different.

Social Media a Life Line for Single People?

Online, we can form professional relationships, build friendships, and even fall in love with someone living on the other side of the globe. Anything is possible if we put in the effort. However, the virtual world is fraught with dangers if you don't know what to look for, and virtual relationships are less satisfying than real-world interactions.

Online scammers seek out people who are alone and feeling lonely. They use the power of words to form connections that feel so real they can ask for money and receive it without question. They are master manipulators and well-organized. For more about Online Dating Scams, read this article because scammers are on all social media sites, and it is essential to understand how they work.

Social media has its pluses but can also cause negative emotions and isolation. Single people spending too much time on social media can find themselves struggling with depression and an increased sense of loneliness. We use social media to find the connections we crave, and it is easy to find someone to talk to in the wee hours of the night through the multitude of social media sites out there. When we spend too much time scrolling through our social media news feeds, we develop a skewed impression of what other people's lives are like. We then compare how our own lives fall short. Dating social media sites can be soul-sucking, esteem-destroying platforms due to how we interact online.

Single People and Isolation

Is it any wonder depression lurks, waiting to attack anyone who spends too much time focusing on what others have and what they lack instead of being grateful for what they have? For more about fighting the depression war, read the post about depression and all the different types, treatments, and support systems.

Single life during COVID-19 can be lonely, quiet, and challenging. However, it can also give you the time you need for projects you always wanted to complete. Whether it is learning a new language, developing a skill for work, getting a new certification to give you a better chance at that promotion you've had your eye on, or connecting with people you haven't talked to since high school. With Zoom, you can talk face to face, no matter how far away they live. Sites like LunchClub introduce you to people from around the world with video calling, allowing you to talk to people and make new connections. There are lots of different ways to connect with people and meet new people using online tools, and once your area opens, you can take those new connections into the real world for a deeper connection.

Single women who live alone navigating life book

Why people chose to live alone

They never found the right person. Are focused on their careers or businesses. Some lost the love of their life and cannot see themselves with someone else. Others tried marriage or cohabitating for awhile and are now learning how to live for themselves instead of for others. Living the single life is different than living a married life or family life, but no less fulfilling when it is packed with activity, community, and satisfying work.

For the last ten years a new trend has been developing as more young adults choose to live at home with their parents instead of striking out into the world on their own. It will be interesting to see if this trend and the experiences of Covid will change the trajectory of single home occupancy.

Did you choose to live alone? Share your story in the comments or if you would like to contribute a story to the APeeling digital magazine about why you choose the single life and how to successfully be happy on your own, Click here to find out about how to submit a story to the APeeling Digital Magazine.


Shannon Peel publishes digital magazines for brands who want to connect with their employees, customers, or the marketplace. APeeling is her brand’s Digital Magazine to tell her personal brand story and the brand stories of those who contribute articles.

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