“I would argue that the rise of living alone represents the greatest social change of the last 60 years that we have failed to name or identify.”Eric Klinenberg, sociologist, New York University
Almost 8 million people in the UK live in ‘single person households.’ In the US, the numbers are around 36 million, 18 million in Japan, 66 million in China, and 2 million in Australia.
That’s a lot of people – and the numbers of people are growing, both as people choose to make a step into solo living, or find themselves doing so following separation, divorce, bereavement, and other major life events.
While living alone is a positive experience for many, there will be others who find that it’s a way of living that comes with unexpected challenges. As humans, we’re hard-wired to connect – inevitably, when contact with others isn’t so readily available, it’s that much easier to fall into isolation, loneliness, and even depression. This can happen alongside recognising and even enjoying newfound freedom, autonomy and independence.
We set up the Living Well Alone Project because – having lived alone ourselves – we realised how much of a need there was for more understanding of this unique way of living. This blog explains a bit about where the project came from.
The Project aims to transform society’s perceptions of what it means to live alone, celebrating the independence, resilience and spirit of those who do, and empowering those living solo to live authentically happy, healthy, connected lives.
We do this by:
- Celebrating and normalising the experience of living alone by collecting stories from those who do, and sharing these widely
- Promoting the potential for living alone to be a positive, empowering, joyful experience, with practical strategies drawn from real people’s lives for making the most of your space, time and autonomy
- Providing reassurance, support and practical advice for anyone who is struggling with the day to day realities of life alone, or thinking about starting a life alone
- Sharing what we know to encourage the business and political communities to recognise and respond to the needs of this under-represented demographic, and to tackle head-on the stigma that can sometimes be associated with living alone
- Help people who don’t live alone to understand what it’s like – and how to meaningfully relate to people who do!
- Kickstarting open, honest conversations about the realities of living alone – online, between individuals, and in our communities
We launched a survey a year ago to collect as much information as we could about the lives of people who live alone. We’ve had over a thousand responses, which we’ll use to build out our site. In the meantime, you can sign up to follow our blog, or join our active facebook community facebook.com/livingwellalone.