The Changing Face of Living Alone: 1850-2010

Rose M. Kreider, U.S. Census Bureau
Jonathan Vespa, U.S. Census Bureau

The growth in one-person households in the US is one of the largest changes in household composition. We track the increase of one-person households between 1850 and 2010, and explore changes in their basic demographics using IPUMS and the 2010 Census. We use logistic regression models to explore what demographic characteristics are associated with living alone, and how this relationship has changed, as well as describing changes in the slope of the increase. The odds of a householder in 2000 living alone were 8 times higher than 1880. Householders 75 years or older had odds of living alone that were 3.7 times that of householders 35-64. We also decompose the change in one-person households to see whether the increase in these households is due to changes in the growth of particular groups who live alone, or if these groups have become more or less likely to be a lone householder over time.

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Presented in Session 127: Living Alone