The number of people living alone in the United States has reached a new record high and experts are describing the situation as an epidemic.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released today estimated that 37.9 million Americans were living alone in 2022, up 4.8 million (15 percent) from 2012 numbers.
It also found that the proportion of the adult population living in single-person households had doubled since the 1960s: from 13 percent to more than 29 percent.
The report warned there was an “increased risk of adverse mental health” for those living alone, adding that people who lived alone were 64 per cent more likely to have symptoms of depression than those who lived with others.
Researchers warn that the rates may be creating a sense of despair and high rates of mental health problems across the United States.
The graph above shows how the number of people living alone in the United States has gradually increased since the 1960s. Experts say this is the “largest demographic change in a century.”
This shows that adults between 45 and 64 years old were more likely to live alone. Estimates are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Experts have called this shift the “biggest demographic shift of the last century,” saying it is being driven by rising divorce rates and greater economic independence among women.
For the report, researchers analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which interviews 100,000 Americans each year about their living standards, including whether they live alone.
They also found that middle-aged adults (ages 45 to 64) made up the largest proportion of adults living alone, followed by those ages 30 to 44.
At the other end of the scale, people aged 18 to 29 made up the smallest proportion of people living alone.
Adults living alone were evenly divided between men and women.
A total of 43.2 percent had incomes about 400 percent or more than the federal poverty level, which is set at $14,580 a year for single-person households.
They were also more likely to be of white ethnicity.
The results also showed that people who lived alone were more likely to report symptoms of depression.
Among this group, 6.4 percent said they were experiencing depressive emotions, compared to 4.1 percent among those living with other people.
Middle-aged adults (ages 45 to 64) who lived alone had the highest proportion of feelings of depression, at nine percent.
In comparison, among those in this age group who lived with other people, 3.9 percent said they were experiencing symptoms of depression.
Dr. Laryssa Mykyta, who directs the Census Bureau’s health and disability statistics branch and wrote the report, said: “Previous research found an increased risk of adverse mental health among older adults who lived with other family members and did not. relatives compared to those who lived with a partner. or spouse.’
Maine was considered the loneliest state, closely followed by Florida and Ohio. Meanwhile, Utah was the least lonely state, closely followed by Alaska and Hawaii.
Living in social isolation could be as bad for your health as almost a pack of cigarettes a day
This graph highlights how those who live alone and are between 45 and 64 years old are more likely to report feelings of depression
He added: ‘Adults who live alone may differ in their reasons for living alone.
‘Some people may choose to live alone, while others may live alone due to the death of a spouse or partner or the dissolution of the family.
‘Those who live with others may differ depending on who they live with.
“Some people may live with their spouse or partner, while others may live with other relatives or non-relatives.”