In his recent keynote presentation at an Urban Land Institute Terwilliger Center for Housing forum, NYU sociology professor Eric Klinenberg describes the growing trend of people living individually. He notes that the percentage of U.S. households with only one person was less than 10% in 1950, but is now 27.6%.
Klinenberg says that the rise of "singletons," not to be confused with "singles," who may live with family or roommates, does not mean an increase in lonely or asocial people. Julie Stern summarizes, "[P]eople who live alone are more likely than married people to take advantage of urban amenities, to go out at night, to attend public events and engage in other activities that ‘animate the streets.'"
The four biggest influences on this trend, according to Klinenberg, are "[w]omen's economic independence," the pervasive use of social media, "[t]he rise of cities--and of neighborhoods within cities," and growing number of people aging alone.