One is not the loneliest number

February 13th, 2012

In our society today, one is no longer the loneliest number. In fact, in many places living along has become a luxury. There are currently 32 million Americans living along or 1 in 7 adults. Twenty percent of all households are single person households. Yet there is a big difference between living alone and being alone.

The social alienation that Robert Putnam talked about in Bowling Alone, is not part of this trend. It simply reflects some profound changes in the nature of work, relationships, and social norms. Eric Klinenberg has captured the discussion about this in his new book Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. My conversation with Eric Klinenberg: