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Joshua Turner
Joshua Turner

I Rise Alone !NEW!

This article was amended on 2 April 2012. The original said in the US 27% of households have one person living in them - roughly one in every seven adults. According to research from Euromonitor International 27% of households do have one person living in them, however the one in seven adults relates to 32.7 million people in the US living alone (the 2010 census gives a total US adult population of about 234 million). The original also said the number of people living alone globally increased by 55% in 15 years - from 153 million in 1996 to 277 million in 2011. This has been corrected.

I Rise Alone


In the US, the share of adults who live alone nearly doubled over the last 50 years. This is not only happening in the US: single-person households have become increasingly common in many countries across the world, from Angola to Japan.

(NB. For the US and Canada there are long-run time series from census data that let us directly track the share of people who live alone. This is shown in this other chart, where you can see the same trend.)

In this interactive chart you can move the slider to see changes over time. This reveals that the rise of single-person households tends to be larger in countries where GDP per capita has grown more. (NB. You can also see the correlation over time in this other scatter plot comparing average growth in GDP vs average growth in one-person households).

These correlations are partly due to the fact that people who can afford to, often choose to live alone. Indeed, rising incomes in many countries are likely part of the reason why people are more likely to live alone today than in the past.

Higher incomes, economic transitions that enable migration from agriculture in rural areas into manufacturing and services in cities, and rising female participation in labor markets all play a role. People are more likely to live alone today than in the past partly because they are increasingly able to do so.

I have been getting a lot of mileage out of rise, and have some potential applications for using this tool to support friends/family members/local organizations outside of work. I would benefit greatly from having access to Rise and the Content Library, but the cost of subscribing to the whole 360 package makes that prohibitive.

Objective: Pediatric type 2 diabetes prevalence is increasing, with β-cell dysfunction key in its pathogenesis. The RISE Pediatric Medication Study compared two approaches-glargine followed by metformin and metformin alone-in preserving or improving β-cell function in youth with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes during and after therapy withdrawal.

Results: No significant differences were observed between treatment groups at baseline, 12 months, or 15 months in β-cell function, BMI percentile, HbA1c, fasting glucose, or oral glucose tolerance test 2-h glucose results. In both treatment groups, clamp-measured β-cell function was significantly lower at 12 and 15 months versus baseline. HbA1c fell transiently at 6 months within both groups. BMI was higher in the glargine followed by metformin versus metformin alone group between 3 and 9 months. Only 5% of participants discontinued the interventions, and both treatments were well tolerated.

Conclusions: In youth with IGT or recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes, neither 3 months of glargine followed by 9 months of metformin nor 12 months of metformin alone halted the progressive deterioration of β-cell function. Alternate approaches to preserve β-cell function in youth are needed.

The rise of the solo economy has been creating new opportunities for companies serving these single consumers. These opportunities are often focused on new forms of entertainment and companionship, including tables for one at restaurants, single-seat karaoke rooms and gym modules designed for use by one person at a time.

At the same time, the single-person lifestyle has also contributed to increased levels of pet ownership. South Korea has seen a 60 percent rise over the last decade, while the number of pets in China has more than doubled in the last five years. Single households also require different products, such as food delivery at home and smaller portions, in the case of packaged food.

The rise of the single household is also encouraging many shifts in urbanization patterns, as demand for more single-unit housing increases. People living alone tend to have more time for themselves, leading to greater demand for various forms of entertainment, especially digital, including: gaming, virtual reality and digital content such as music/video streaming and related applications. In Japan, for example, single households spend between 1.5 times and 3.5 times more on digital content such as videos, music and e-books, than households with more than one person.

What explains the rise in solo living? There is no one clear-cut answer with various pieces making up the puzzle. Increased wealth, cultural change and destigmatisation of single life; young people delaying key milestones (such as marriage and parenthood) and longer life expectancy are just a few of the factors. The dawn of the internet influences the trend too. There is also growing recognition and acceptance many people live solo by choice, but there is still much debate about the reasons behind this version of society today.

Paradoxically, living alone seems to encourage more, not less, social interaction. While some argue that humans are social creatures and are not designed to live alone and be alone; on the whole solos actually get out more visiting restaurants, attending classes and lectures. They are more inclined to socialise and spend time with family and friends than those who are coupled-up, according to research by US sociologist Erin Cornwell.

For instance, the number of people travelling solo has increased by 60% since 2009 and an estimated 12bn was generated in 2015 by solo travellers taking holidays. With solos also spending more on entertainment such as concerts, festivals, the going to the cinema, and with more confident dining alone, the solo consumer market is a huge and highly lucrative market that businesses ignore at their peril.

Advances in technology and the advent of social media have played a significant role in the rise solo living. Some argue with smartphones you are never truly alone, social contact being just a click away if you wish. While the long term cognitive effects of social media usage have yet to be measured, at present many people report it as having a positive impact on their real-life social interactions, thanks to apps which enable them to establish relationships beyond their longstanding friends and family network.

The widespread effects of solo living on our communities and economies, our families, relationships and ourselves are both profound and unpredictable, restructuring our societies for decades to come. People living alone play an essential role in society today, largely unseen until fairly recently. Nevertheless, the tide is turning and this important demographic is finally being recognised. Solo living is here to stay.

Last March, a paper by a geoscientist named Rob DeConto came out in Nature. And as far as geology papers go, it was a big deal: It outlined a new paradigm for how Antarctic ice sheets are impacted by climate change. As the oceans and atmosphere warm, they don't just melt the ice from below; they create honking cracks in glaciers that make it easier for large chunks of ice to break off, slip into the ocean, and disappear. The effects on sea level rise? They could be almost twice what scientists had predicted for the end of the century.

Equipped with many different features, advanced functions and superior picture quality, stand-alone monitors are solidifying their presence in the market. According to IHS Technology, a leading market research firm, high-end monitors above WQHD (2,0481,536 pixels) are expected to show rapid sales growth of approximately 52 percent annually until 2019.

On a recent global roadshow, Singita marketing director Lindy Rousseau spoke with a client who shared that she chooses Singita as she never feels lonely when traveling alone. Having found a balance between interactions with staff or guests and personal time, this client now recommends safari as the ultimate travel experience to her single friends

One possibility is that there is a causal link between living alone, being socially isolated, and feeling lonely. But these are three distinct conditions, and experiencing one (living alone) does not necessarily mean experiencing one or both of the others (being isolated or feeling lonely). For example, when I interviewed more than 300 people for my book, Going Solo, many told me that nothing had made them lonelier than being in a bad marriage. Moreover, survey data show that, on average, Americans who live alone spend more time with friends and neighbors and volunteer in civic organizations more often than married people.1 Unfortunately, journalists, scholars, and health care providers often conflate living alone, feeling lonely, and being isolated, and the result is widespread confusion about each condition.

Of course, identifying the risks of social isolation is just the first step of addressing it as a public health problem. After that, we need to know how common isolation is in different places and subpopulations, and what can be done to reduce it. Here, it is especially important that we not conflate living alone, being isolated, and feeling lonely, because each condition requires a particular form of diagnosis and a specific intervention.

Sociologists have a long history of measuring social networks and social isolation, and we know a lot about its prevalence. For decades, research based on the most reliable social surveys has indicated that social isolation is a rare condition. As Fischer and Phillips report, from the 1980s through today, several studies, using a variety of measures for isolation (including number of confidants and close friends, frequency of social interaction, and access to social support), suggest that fewer than one in 20 Americans are socially isolated.3 Recently, however, McPherson et al. reported a dramatic spike in social isolation, such that one in four Americans had no confidant by 2004.4 This finding has been widely cited, and the article has been massively influential in the public sphere. But careful scrutiny of the article by Fischer and others has established that the finding about the rise of isolation is an artifact based on flawed data, from which we should draw no inferences.5 041b061a72


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