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Men Now Twice As Likely To Live Alone 2004-11-08

Posted by clype in Scotland, Statistics.
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Move over “Bridget Jones”, the nation’s most popular thirtysomething is now “Brad Jones”.

New research has found that the typical singleton who enjoys a glass or three of Chardonnay, a microwave meal for one and bewails their ‘smug married’ friends is likely to be a man.

Despite a huge rise in the number of female singletons, men in Scotland between the ages of 25-44 are twice as likely as women to live alone, according to the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Research on Families and Relationships.

Scotland tops the UK with the highest proportion of single-living: 17.9 per cent of Scots compared with 15 per cent in England & Wales.

The rise of the single household has escalated in the past decade, with the percentage of people living on their own trebling since the 1970s.

Mr.Adam Smith, one of the project’s researchers, said there is a growing number of young professionals who have bought two-bedroom flats for space and for friends to stay over, but choose to live on their own.

Almost a third of all UK households now consist of one person. Among those aged 30-74, who traditionally would be more likely to be married, 15 per cent now live alone.

‘I believe it is especially prevalent in the younger males. There are huge implications for the welfare state in years to come, because there will be no pooling together of wages or informal social care with couples looking after each other’, said Mr.Smith.

‘Solo living affects city populations where single professionals often choose to settle. What we regard as ‘the norm’ is changing, and this has implications for families and relationships, as well as working and housing arrangements’.

Mr.Smith says the research is continuing into why this is the case, but the image of the lonely spinster or bachelor is a thing of the past.

Mr.Malcolm Kerr, 30, who works for ScottishPower in Glasgow, says he has lived on his own for six years and can’t imagine living with anyone and sharing his space.

‘It’s not that I am perpetually single and sometimes I find it strange that I live on my own because I come from such a large family, but when I moved into my flat I became used to living on my own very quickly.

‘At night when I finish work, I’ll maybe go to the gym or for a run. I don’t do big dinners and I have been known to buy a microwave meal for one, but when you buy things like that in the shops everyone looks on with pity. I like my life. I don’t need pity’.

Mr.Kerr said he does not feel under any pressure to live with a partner, or has lost out in any of his friendships. His best friend and younger brother are both married and he sees both just as much as he did when they were single.

‘When they were married I did think it made me look more sad because I live on my own, but I don’t feel sad; there are advantages to being single.

‘I can come home and make something on toast with no-one moaning, or bring in a chippie, lie on the couch and watch football. I was in a long-term relationship but we split up years ago, and to be honest I wouldn’t want to go back to that life’.

Mr.Cary Cooper, a professor of psychology at Lancaster University, said there were lots of reasons for the increasing number of single men.

‘To begin with, they lack good role models’, he said.

‘They look at their fathers and parents generally and see 45 per cent of marriages end in divorce or separation these days.

‘The motivation to play the traditional role of the breadwinner is gone. Job security is much less stable than it was, and there is much more competition from women in the workplace.

‘The housing market also has a lot to answer for. A lot of men are priced out of the market now’.

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