The growing number of people living alone are a much more positive force than many Americans have thought, says Eric Klinenberg, author of a new book from Penguin Press, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. The periodical Urban Land says Klinenberg recently told a Washington conference that notions about singles being neurotic, immoral, sick, or lonely are off the mark. Those who live alone are in fact more likely than married people to take advantage of urban amenities, go out at night, attend public events, and engage in activities that "animate the streets," according to Klinenberg, a sociology professor at New York University. They are also more likely to volunteer with civic organizations. Over all, 27.6 percent of US households consist of those who live alone. They are predominantly urban—a change from the 1950s, when people living alone were more rural. Today's "singletons," as Klinenberg calls them, should be seen as appreciating both solitude and connection with others. One form of housing that may appeal to them, he suggested, is small units accompanied by multiple shared amenities, such as a health club, coffee bar, party room, public lounge space, and an outdoor terrace. The conference was held at the Urban Land Institute Terwilliger Center for Housing.
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