Eric Klinenberg on Going Solo

The surprising benefits, to oneself and to society, of living alone

According to author Eric Klinenberg, there are more than 32 million people living alone—about 28 percent of all households. (Jocelyn Lee / Institute)
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Do you have any thoughts on where this trend might be going?
When the economy got bad, pundits everywhere said that we would all start moving in with each other, and couples would not divorce, young people would move into their parents’ basements. Some of that turned out to be true, but in fact the levels of living alone have gone up since 2008. They’ve gone up, not down, and something similar happened in Japan during the lost decade of the 1980s. So I don’t predict that the current economic situation is going to end this trend. It seems to me that this is a social condition that’s here to stay.

Do you live alone?
Only when I’m traveling. I’m now married with two young children. But in the past I did live alone for a time. It was quite wonderful.

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