According to the market research firm Euromonitor International, the number of people living alone globally is skyrocketing, rising from about 153 million in 1996 to 277 million in 2011 -- a 55 percent increase in 15 years, the Guardian reported.
Sweden has more solo dwellers than anywhere else in the world, with 47 percent of households having one resident; followed by Norway at 40 percent. In Japan, about 30 percent of all households have a single dweller, and the rate is far higher in urban areas. China, India and Brazil also see fast growth in one-person households.
The rise of living alone has been a transformative social experience. It changes the way people understand themselves and their most intimate relationships. It shapes the way people build their cities and develop their economies.
The wealth generated by economic development and the social security provided by modern welfare states have enabled the spike. More people live alone than ever before because they can afford to.
The rise also stems from the cultural change that Emile Durkheim, a founding figure in sociology in the late 19th century, called the cult of the individual.
Another driving force is the communications revolution, which has allowed people to experience the pleasures of social life even when they're living alone.
In addition, young solitaires actively reframe living alone as a mark of distinction and success. They use it as a way to invest time in their personal and professional growth.
(China.org.cn April 1, 2012)