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Why so Many People are Living Single

Updated on November 18, 2014

The Statistics and Reasons for Single Living

When a man or a woman keeps searching for someone, he/she could cohabits with, but unfortunately, is unable to find that ideal partner, he/she is considered a victim of circumstance. However, when a person has no problem finding a mate but prefers to live on his/her own as opposed to living with a partner, that's a matter of a personal choice!

Living single is not always circumstantial, sometimes it's just a matter of personal choice. Based on statistics, in 2005 -- 51 percent of women have reported that they were living single -- two percent more than the 49 percent reported in 2000. As the number of people living single continue to grow, it would be helpful if we try to explore some of the liable circumstances along with the misconceptions of singles ladies or single men.

There are a number of married people who have held (and still hold) various stereotypes of singles -- swingers and losers, for example. They see single men and women as Swingers who lived wild, exciting lives with few restraints. They are also thought to be Losers -- physically unattractive people who have little or no social life. They also believe that these men and women would like to get married, but cannot find anyone who will date them. Or perhaps they are too immature to give up their sheltered lives(their parents' home). However, fluent but insincere stereotypes like these are nothing but misrepresentation of the full range of single lifestyles.

Some authors believe the choice of a single lifestyle could possibly be the result of a carefully balanced decision --- a balance between freedom and constraint, or between self-sufficiency and interdependence. Some critiques on the subject of single living often question the trend towards fewer marriages and more divorces. Now, It has become a matter of question as to whether or not we have become a society too beguiled with freedom and autonomy at the expense of interpersonal obligations?

Many people are also concerned about our individualistic lifestyles and the emphasis we have placed on freedom of choice at perhaps the expense of transgenerational ties and interdependent roles.

In an effort to avoid problems of bad marriages, it is believed that a large percentage of singles choose the single life as a way of enjoying intimate relationships, especially when they are successful. They also want to avoid the feeling of being trapped by a male who stands in the way of their own personal development.

Other reasons are that they don't want to feel bored, unhappy, angry, sexually frustrated, or lonely with a person whom they have long since outgrown. After witnessing marriage failures of friends and family, they have come to the conclusion that single life is by far, the better choice.

Some single men and single women sometimes set the bar a bit too high; They refuse to compromised, kept looking for a "total person", or it could be that they have become victims of the Pygmalion's effect(trying to live up to the expectations of friends or relatives). It's also possible that they have been holding on to some lost lovers(who have long moved on), hoping that one day these individuals will return. With this high hope of reuniting with their ex-lovers, they literally removed themselves from the market ( as legible bachelors or spinsters), just to make sure they will be available, should these old lovers decide to give them another chance.

On the contrary, some women and men are single simply because they have become victims of circumstances. For example, in a few cases, living single could be a temporary situation, such as -- The spouses may have been working or living abroad or out of town. In other cases the significant others could have been away in the military or it could be that they are either institutionalized or incarcerated. There are others who also kept looking for a mate, but somehow continue to be unsuccessful.


The reason some people are single is not necessarily due to the stereotypical views held by some married couples. Based on all the information provided above, it is clear that living single could be the result of one's personal choice or it could very well be a matter of circumstances.

(C)Copyright : I.McFarlane 2012

Living by Yourself and for Yourself


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    • mackyi profile imageAUTHOR

      I.W. McFarlane 

      6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Hi SimplyMSW, thanks for stopping by. This is just a stereotypical view -- "a number of married people have held various stereotypes." Thus this statement doesn't necessarily contain all elements of truth! I guess we all are guilty of own stereotypes at times!

      On this subject of single living however, I totally agree with the statement that "each person's situation is different." You are absolutely right. The bottom line is, the reasons are various. Thus, although I have mentioned most of the known reasons, there are still other reasons some people choose single living over marriage or cohabitation.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I find it ironic that married people would few singles as swingers when you examine the definition of the word. The term "swinger" refers to a couple who engages in swapping sexual activities with other couples. Over time this practice has come to include single women but it originated amongst and is still largely held among couples. But I digress. :)

      I think you have covered the reasons behind singlehood quite comprehensively. As a single woman myself, I have held onto just about all of these reasons at various points in my life! Singlehood can also culturally influenced. As you mentioned, the U.S. is an individualistic society; therefore, it is no surprise that Americans tend to wait longer to marry than other cultures. We tend to frown upon the Middle Eastern and Asian practices of marrying young, polygyny, and arranged marriages. Yet we have one of the highest divorce rates in the world! There is no easy answer to this problem. Each person's situation is different, and each one must decide his or her own path towards lifelong companionship and, ultimately, happiness.

    • mackyi profile imageAUTHOR

      I.W. McFarlane 

      6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Thanks for taking the time to read this article. Also, thanks for the votes. You are right,some people don't really stop to think about the many issues that should be taken into consideration before you let a man or a woman into your life,your personal space, your world etc. One of the problems is that, what might be of paramount importance to one person may not be important to another. In a nutshell - everyone has his/her own criteria when selecting a mate. I must admit however, some people have made it totally impossible for anyone to be with them. In other words, they are not willing to compromise, even though they have their share of short coming!

      Finally,it's tough when a spouse dies,leaving the widow or widower behind. When you think you have found your one and only and then suddenly he/she is gone, you feel like there is no one else out there for you!

    • Rosalinem profile image


      6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Mackyi I agree with what you have written about single hood, most people don't understand that for one to have a partner there are so many issues to consider before sharing a life with someone.There is also the saddest scenario where the spouse dies. Voted it up and interesting.


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