Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thirty-Five Percent of Nashvillians Live Alone?

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Over at The Daily Beast, Andrew Sullivan posted this map of housing solitude in the U.S., showing that urban areas (at least according to 2010 census data) lead the way in single-person households. Nashville checked in at 35 percent, the same as Chicago (which I expected to be higher) and well behind my old hometown of Seattle's 42 percent.

While urban living and widespread solitude do seem to correlate, I'm curious what more drilldown of the statistics might yield. For instance, how does age figure in? Do cities attract more young people, who tend to be less established (and therefore more likely to live alone)? And do these single households tend to contain a higher percentage of entrepreneurs and mover-shaker types? Does living alone allow more social and economic agility, and therefore help drive creativity and innovation? And by that token, does the aloneness quotient line up at all with any of the "creative class" or other such theories of urban progress and transformation?

Living alone tends to be more expensive than collective life. At least it was in Seattle, where I could barely afford the apartment in which I first watched Altman's Nashville (alone, on two VHS tapes). So it should also correlate with, if not affluence, then at least a can-do attitude, right?

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