When family and social dynamics change, it affects more than just culture. Business, government and society as a whole cater specifically to the needs and values of American households. Family values and attributes may also influence birth rate and population growth trends. Ultimately, emerging trends within American households live far beyond the four walls of any given home.
With that in mind, SmartAsset examined household makeups for 342 of the largest U.S. cities for which data was available to determine how the American household is changing.
- On average, the rate of single people living alone jumped to 28%. Five years prior, that figure was 24%. In Arlington, VA, which had the most drastic increase, the proportion of people living alone jumped from 11% to 41%.
- Single people make up nearly half of households in these cities. The largest single populations across men and women are Washington, D.C. (48.23%); St. Louis, MO (47.49%); Alexandria, VA (46.52%); Richmond, VA (46.23%); Cincinnati, OH (46.20%); and Cleveland, OH (46.20%).
- In the D.C. area, more than 25% of households are single women. Single-woman households are most prominent in Richmond, VA (28.00%); Washington, D.C. (26.74%); and Alexandria, VA (26.23%). These areas also saw the largest increases in the proportion of single women living alone over five years, with greater than 15% of households added to this cohort. Other areas with large bachelorette populations include St. Louis, MO (25.70%); New Orleans, LA (25.70%) and Cincinnati, OH (24.63%).
- Bachelors make up more than 20% of households in these cities. Single men were most common in Fort Lauderdale, FL (24.68%); Cleveland, OH (23.33%); Fargo, ND (22.73%); Birmingham, AL (21.90%); and St. Louis, MO (21.78%). However, these areas saw the largest five-year increases in the representation of bachelors: Arlington, VA (15.85% more households made up of a single man); Fargo, ND (14.86%); Seattle, WA (14.32%) and Madison, WI (12.72%).
- Only one city saw an increase in married families with children. The percent of married people with children as a percent of all households increased only in Odessa, TX. Conversely, this cohort decreased most – by 29.90% – in Edinburgh, TX, followed by Killeen TX at 23.65% decrease.
- Traditional families were most common in these cities. More than one-third of households were made up of married couples with children in Frisco, TX (41.94%); Fishers, IN (40.63%); Fremont, CA (37.50%) and Elk Grove, CA (34.16%).
Where Single-Person Households Increased Most
1. Arlington, VA
The proportion of singleton households increased by 3.54 times – going from 11.78% in 2016 to 41.71% in 2021. The percentage of bachelorette’s roughly tripled, while the percentage of bachelor’s quadrupled.
2. Alexandria, VA
Single-person households grew threefold over five years. In 2016, 15.61% of households were single people living alone, increasing to 46.52% by 2021. Both the proportion of bachelor and bachelorette households roughly tripled.
3. College Station, TX
College Station single-person households increased by 2.63 times. Only 11.83% of households were unmarried and living alone in 2016, compared to 31.11% in 2021. Most notably, the proportion of bachelorette households went up more than fivefold: from 3.06% to 16.79%.
4. Madison, WI
People living the single lifestyle went up by 2.59 times in Madison, from 15.91% to 41.32%. The proportion of single women increased by a little less than three times, while the proportion of bachelors went up by about two and a half times.
5. Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor ranked just shy of Madison, with 2.58 times more single-person households in 2021 when compared with 2016. This population grew from 13.97% to 36.10%. The proportion of single men more than tripled, while the proportion of single women more than doubled.
6. Sandy Springs, GA
Single households increased by 2.48 times in Sandy Springs, going up from 14.88% to 36.85% of all households. The relative population of single women roughly tripled, compared to that of men which nearly doubled.
7. Boulder, CO
Boulder households saw an increase of 2.45 times in the proportion of single households. In 2016, they made up 12.98% of households, compared to 31.85% in 2021. For women, this population grew by nearly two times, while it more than tripled for men.
8. Fargo, ND
In Fargo, 41.70% of households were made up of single people living alone, which is up 2.43 times from 2016 when that same statistic was just 17.17%. The single population of women doubled, while it tripled for men.
9. Minneapolis, MN
The single-person household group grew 2.35 times in Minneapolis from 17.51% to 41.17%. The change was roughly equivalent between men and women.
10. Seattle, WA
Seattle’s singleton households went up from 17.07% in 2016 to 40.04% in 2021. The cohort of single women nearly doubled, while the proportion of single men roughly tripled.
Data and Methodology
This study considered 342 cities with populations over 100,000 as of 2021. Household data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 1-Year American Community Surveys for 2021 and 2016. Cities are ranked based on the biggest growth in households made up of only an unmarried man or an unmarried woman.
Financial Tips for Living Alone
- Create a responsive budget. Living costs are rising and that may strain your wallet. Tackle the rising cost of living with our budget calculator and see how the current economic climate will impact your savings.
- Know what you can afford. Using our paycheck calculator can help you visualize your take-home pay. Then learn about the guidelines for how much you should spend on your rent before making a decision that meets your financial needs.
- Consult with a professional partner. A financial advisor can guide you through important financial decisions and help you shape your financial future. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
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