As Men Live Longer, Fewer Older Women Live Alone

Random Samplings, the U.S. Census Bureau's official blog, recently reported that women are less likely to live alone today than they were a generation ago. Rose Kreider writes: "The increase in life expectancy for men is likely...connected to the decrease in living alone for older women." Because men are living longer, fewer women are widowed; as a result, "the proportion [of women] married and living with their spouse increased from 1971 to 2011."

Interestingly, from 2008 to 2010, there was a 0.8 percent decrease in one-person households, standing out from a generally upward trend in the percentage of one-person households "
over the last half of the 20th century and into the 21st century." Kreider warns against assuming the decrease was due to the recession, noting that in the past, the percentage of one-person households "doesn’t look like it is necessarily sensitive to recessions." Rather, it appears that this decrease is more closely related to the rising life expectancy of men, which has increased from 67 years of age in 1971 to 75 in 2007.

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