NEWS: 15% of the population set to live alone by 2039


With the number of single adult households rising, it is good to consider the impact living alone has on people.

Between 1997 and 2017 the number of people living on their own rose by 16%, while the UK population only increased by 13%. In Dorset, the number of people estimated to be living on their own is around 100,000. This is estimated to go up again by around 3% by 2039.

On average, in 25-64 year olds, more men live alone than women. Those under 55 who live alone have usually never been married, but between 55 to 64 it is more evenly spread between those who are single and those who are divorced, as well as people who are separated or widowed.

Those living in one adult households spend an average of 92% of their disposable income, and are more likely to be renting their home, compared to just 83% spent by two adult households. 

Single people spend more on housing costs such as rent, mortgages, bills and council tax, as well as food, which means they have less money to spend on leisure activities and clothes.

But living alone doesn’t just have a financial impact, a lot of people report lower levels of happiness and higher levels of anxiety than those living together with a partner. Although this could be down to other factors such as renting, or being divorced, rather than being a direct result of just living on their own.

Managing alone

Sophie, 27 from Bournemouth, has lived on her own for around three years after moving away from family for a relationship which then broke apart.

She said: “I won’t lie it was a struggle to get used to my own company as I had never spent more than a week or two alone before.

“Financially it is difficult, if I’d have had savings I could have purchased somewhere and been paying a lot less in mortgage repayments that I am paying now in rent.

“I began to struggle with bills etc on top of the rent so took on a second job and that does make it more manageable financially.”

Not all negatives

Living on your own isn’t all bad though, you have a lot more freedom in some ways, and do not have to worry about what other people are doing. 

You can make the decisions about where to put things, and where to eat, by yourself, with no compromises. You don’t have to worry about other people’s mess, or wait for them to finish cooking or doing laundry for you to start yours, and you have the privacy that many of us crave.

Sophie added: “I never thought that living alone was what I wanted but now that I have been doing it for three years I can’t imagine living with other people, I’m enjoying my own space and being able to do what I want when I want.

“Although in the future I would ideally like to be living with a partner, and no longer renting.”

If you are struggling, you might be entitled to some extra help. Check advice with the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux here, and some hints and tips from here.


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