In 2011, according to the Census, there were about 1.9 million people living alone in Australia; by 2031, there are projected to be between 3.0 and 3.6 million people living alone – an increase of between 63 per cent and 91 per cent, with the trend strongest among women. The number of women living alone will likely rise to 1.8 million in 2031.
The rise of the “lone wolf” or lone household, represents the fastest projected increase of all household types over the period. Ageing of the population coupled with the longer life expectancy of women over men, increases in separation and divorce, and the delay of marriage are some of the factors contributing to the growth in lone person households.
Developers have already begun to tap into this growing number of singletons with a huge increase in the number of one-bedroom units available in new-builds, especially in Brisbane. Personally, I have lived in group households, couple households with no children, and lone households over the years. While I no longer live by myself, many of my friends choose do so because, let’s face it, when you get to a certain age (okay, when you’re over about 35) the reasons for going solo can be as varied as they are many:
- You can choose what you want to watch on telly every single night of the week and not have to invest in a plasma for your bedroom, where you have to lay down to watch a documentary on building cathedrals that would put everyone else in the house to sleep;
- Ditto, you can eat your favourite food/meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner if you so desire and not have to explain to anyone the reasoning for doing so;
- When you feel like having company, you can invite your friends and family over and have raucous parties (while also obeying common decency and body corporate by-laws of course) without having to invite your former house-mate’s strange Great Uncle Dave;
- One person households generally don’t make much mess and if your house is messy you have no one to blame but yourself;
- If you go out for a few quiet drinks on a Friday night and don’t manage to make it home until 2pm on Sunday, no-one need ever know – unless you do something silly like post pictures of it on Facebook;
- When the monthly bills arrive, you don’t have to have a mathematics degree to calculate who owns what percentage of the phone bill or who used all the internet band-with downloading the latest season of the Kardashians direct from the US;
- You can wear pyjamas all day long and not feel like a bit of tool;
- If you don’t feel like visitors you can pretend you’re not home, and not worry about your housemate saying: “Yes, he/she is here. I’ll just get him/her for you” to your mother when she turns up unexpectedly on your doorstep.
By Nicola McDougall, media and communications manager, REIQ