The percentage of North Americans living by themselves has doubled since 1960, so much so that roughly 28% of all households now consist of just one person -- the highest level in history.
Is this a natural state? Absolutely, maintains sociology professor Eric Klinenberg, in his book Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. In fact, people will live alone whenever and wherever they can afford to do it, he insists.
The proof is what comes out of their pockets, since 'singletons' willingly pay a premium for the privilege of living alone.
Loosely put, the cost of living is the square root of the number of people living together. So if you live with someone else, whether they're a roommate or a significant other, you’ll pay about 70% of what you would pay if you were living alone.
But the money doesn't matter for most people, Klinenberg believes. It's simply the cost of freedom. Living alone comports promotes freedom, personal control and self-realization — all prized aspects of contemporary life.