Eric Klinenberg's Going Solo

In 1950, there were about 4 million Americans living alone, a little less than 10% of all households were one-person households.

Today, there are more than 32 million people living alone - according to the latest census estimates, 32.7 million - and that’s about 28% of all American households. This is an enormous change. Instead of being most common in the West, it’s now most common in big cities, and it's common in big cities throughout the country. In Seattle, and San Francisco, and Denver, and Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., and Chicago, there are between 35 and 45% of the households have just one person. In Manhattan, where I live, about 1 of every 2 households is a one-person household.

It’s amazing. And it would be quite literally unbelievable were it not for the fact that those rates are even lower than the rates of living alone that we see in comparable European cities.