The Dramatic Rise of Solo Living

The Dramatic Rise of Solo Living

A new book, Going Solo, offers surprising insight on the emergence of a new single majority that prefers to live alone.

The Dramatic Rise of Solo Living
Eric Klinenberg, professor of sociology at New York University, is the author of Going Solo, the new book about the rise of the singular nation. Photo by Rona Talcott.

One of the many things I’ve learned since launching Singular magazine and SingularCity, the affiliated social-networking community, is that we single people are a diverse group of individuals. We’re poor, we’re rich and we’re middle class. Some of us are dating or in a relationship — some of us aren’t. Some of us have never been married, others are divorced or widowed; some of us are comfortable with our singular status, others can’t wait to get un-single.

There is one thing, however, that we singles all have in common. We live in a society that says being married is the “right choice” and therefore, if we’re unmarried, we’re supposed to “fix” our singular status as soon as possible.

Fortunately, some very important changes are shifting the tired old idea that a person must be hitched in order to be socially successful, a stereotype reinforced by laws and perks that favor those who’ve said, “I do.”

It’s been a long hard slog, but negative attitudes about being single are beginning to change. One reason is the massive increase in the number of unmarried people in the world. It’s hard for the keepers of the status quo to keep their boots on our necks when we’re the up-and-coming majority.

Another reason is the emergence of what I call singular visionaries — sociologists, cultural anthropologists, scholars and even progressive bloggers who don’t think that singles need to be changed, but rather, that what needs to be changed is the way people think about singles.

A few of these visionaries have written books that provide valuable perspectives on what it means to be a single. I’m not talking about whether or not you currently have a boyfriend or girlfriend, I’m thinking of much bigger issues, such as those raised by social psychologist Bella De Paulo in Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized and Ignored and Still Live Happily Ever After, a book that opened my eyes to the myriad of ways single people are discriminated against.

Another important book, Eric Klinenberg’s Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, is being released this week. Klinenberg, a professor of sociology at New York University, provides a well-researched, fascinating read about the growing single majority, along with important insights about why this landmark shift in our culture is happening and how it will transform society as we know it.

On Tuesday, February 28, Singular magazine is organizing a reception and book signing with Klinenberg following an in-depth interview sponsored by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium (part of the library’s Aloud series). Journalist Laurie Winer will interview Klinenberg. The event is free, but you must reserve a ticket.

This is a must-see program if you are single because it will help you see how, even as a solo person, you are not alone, but are connected to others in an emerging social ecosystem that also allows you to enjoy your treasured solitude — even though there are times that living single is a challenge.

For anyone who works in politics, government policy, public relations, advertising or marketing, Klinenberg’s thinking will be a revelation. He understands that a demographic that spends $1.9 trillion a year and has the voting power to determine election outcomes can no longer be dismissed, ignored or marginalized. The sooner people in power acknowledge this, the sooner they will have the attention of the 50 percent of American adults they’ve been ignoring.


The Library Foundation of Los Angeles’s ALOUD series brings together today’s brightest cultural, scientific and political luminaries with the curious minds of Los Angeles.

Please reserve your ticket and join us on Tuesday, February 28 at 7 pm for an evening that will change your ideas on what it means to be single – the trends, the advantages and the challenges.

If you would like to attend the cocktail reception and book signing following the interview, please RSVP on the event page at SingularCity.com or e-mail community@singularcity.com.

Copyright © Kim Calvert/2012 Singular Communications, LLC.

Kim CalvertKim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.


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4 thoughts on “The Dramatic Rise of Solo Living

  1. Kim, I completely agree. I’m familiar with Bella De Paulo’s work. She is doing a lot to advance the image of singles. You, of course, are doing the same.

    My inspiration for creating Solotopia.com was to support the rapidly growing singles community and especially those who choose to remain unattached and those who have difficulty being happily single.

  2. What so many people fail to realize is that being in a relationship of any type does not guarantee that you may not live single some day. I’ve been told for years by people to “get a man, get married, have your babies before it’s too late…who will take care of you?” I work in healthcare. Can’t tell you enough stories about people I care for who lose spouses or significant others. And not just to death. I’ve witnessed significant others walk away because they found caring for the loved one as health problems set in to be too stressful. People fail to realize as you age – so does your significant other if you have one. Who’s to say he/she can care for you? I’ve watched doting spouses become angry and withdrawn because he/she has to sacrifice their time/retirement for an ailing wife/husband. I’ve witnessed parents lose their children to death or have children who refuse to help with their care because they are too busy living their own lives. My mother at the age of 64 is proof that you can marry, have kids and not get a fairy tale ending. She works full time, lives alone and is just now enjoying her life. She says her life now beats staying with the man who made it clear after 30+ years of marriage he never really loved her. Living single is not a disease state. Singles may not fit into society’s view of “the norm” but that does not mean our lives are any less important than those trying to achieve the “fairy tale” of having the perfect marriag, children, pretty house on the hill, etc. Let’s start embracing the idea that we should learn to accept people and their choices.

  3. It’s great to see more of this kind of material being released. While dating and romance are fine and can be a part of life, it’s disappointing when most info that relates to singles is about them becoming coupled.

    Recently, it’s been a relief to see the serious and compassionate research that that’s being done about singles. Even to have found this website is a plus!

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