We are living in a time of seismic societal shifts. One we don’t hear much about, but is of large importance to the multifamily market is the increase in people living alone. Never before in the history of civilization have there been cultures who could sustain large numbers of this demographic. Sociologist Eric Klinenbeg has researched the trend and written about it in his book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone.
Given what we know about the emotional and physical benefits of being connected in community, it might seem this is an alarming reality... a crisis even. But Klinenberg’s research uncovered that “people who live alone tend to spend more time socializing with friends and neighbors than people who are married”. While solo living can be the outcome or cause of isolation, one of the benefits to living alone is that one can more easily choose when and with whom they socialize.
Solo dwellers are looking for community—just on their own terms. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for us. Helping our residents experience a sense of community is crucial, and nuanced. It requires attention to individuals, time to listen, and the creativity to explore different kinds of connection. Like it or not, we are part of a social experiment like never before. The health of the next generation will largely depend on how well we adjust to our new realities. I’m hopeful our multifamily communities will be instrumental in helping people connect.