Living alone but not lonely

One in 10 Australians live alone according to the last census – but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are lonely.

Living alone is generally thought of as a “potentially isolating or undesirable” living arrangement. Australian National University (ANU) research found about 25% of single people in Australia were in an intimate and ongoing relationship.

While living alone is more common for older people – particularly women – of women aged 65 years and older and not living in a care facility, more than one in three live by themselves. This compares to one in five men aged 65 years and over.

The ANU Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute has crunched the numbers from the latest census data.

The institute finds there has been a substantial increase in ‘lone-person’ households in the past 50 years. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that in 1961, about 11% of Australian households had just one resident. Lone-person households had increased to 24% of households last year.

While 24% of households having one resident may be large, it is not particularly large by international standards. The percentage of lone-person households was largest in Scandinavian countries. About 46% of households in Sweden have one person living in them and across western Europe it is around 30%.

There is no evidence suggesting countries with large numbers of people living alone have lower levels of life satisfaction.

The OECD Better Life Index shows people in countries with high levels of living alone actually score well on happiness ratings.

Do you live alone? Share your thoughts on this study by commenting below.