Living Alone in China: Historical Trend, Spatial Distribution, and Determinants

Wei-Jun Jean Yeung, National University of Singapore
Adam Cheung, National University of Singapore

Nearly 60 million people live alone in China now. As one of the fastest growing living arrangements in China, representing 14.0% of all Chinese family households in 2011, little is known about who they are, where they are, and what drive this increase. We takes a historical look at the temporal and spatial distribution trends of the one-person household based on 1982, 1990 and 2005 individual-level census data. We also conduct multi-level analysis to examine what contextual and individual characteristics contribute to an individual’s propensity to live alone. Results show that economic development and internal migration are crucial factors for the increasing prevalence. There is an increasing spatial heterogeneity in that these households cluster in economically developed areas. Those who live alone vary greatly by age, marital status, and socioeconomic status and are motivated by different socioeconomic and cultural factors quite different from the cultural individualism emphasized in the West.

  See paper

Presented in Session 127: Living Alone