People living alone are perhaps happier and more socially active in comparison to their cohabiting counterparts, suggests a new research.
A new book, Going Solo - The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klinenberg, argues that rather than the single-individual householder being "sad, lonely old baby boomers" as demographer Bernard Salt put it, we are increasingly learning to fly solo and, in the process, devising new ways of living.
Advertisement"Today the majority of people who live alone are actually more socially active with friends and neighbours than their married counterparts," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Klinenberg, a Professor of Sociology at New York University as saying.
"They do get lonely sometimes, but the people I interviewed said that there's nothing lonelier than living with the wrong person," he stated.
Klinenberg conducted more than 300 in-depth interviews of 'singletons' (his term) across all ages and classes in the US and came to the conclusion that this way of life can help us discover things about ourselves as well as appreciate the pleasure of good company.
"Living in a city makes it much easier for singletons to get out into the public realm and contribute to the common good," he explained.
He found that those living solo are more likely to eat out, exercise, attend extracurricular classes, public events and lectures, and volunteer.
It's a way of living that is growing at an unprecedented rate.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimate that by 2031, 3.6 million people will live in lone person households.
Klinenberg puts the growing trend down to a four major factors.
"The rising status of women has been essential to the change, because their economic independence and personal freedom allowed women to delay marriage or escape failing ones," he noted.
"Then there's the communications revolution, beginning with the telephone and continuing to Facebook and Skype, because these technologies allow people to be connected even while they're home alone.
"Urbanisation is a third force, because it created booming subcultures of singles who live alone, together in particular urban neighbourhoods throughout the world. Finally, there's the longevity revolution, which has made ageing alone a common experience too," he added.
In his research, Klinenberg learned that people go solo at all stages of life.
But he was surprised to find that the fastest-growing group of singletons is people under 35.
It seems the lure of shared households - where bills are itemised and fought over and food sometimes labeled in the fridge - is an option that no longer appeals. As the song goes 'Two can be as bad as one, it's the loneliest number since the number one.'