Quarantine is lonely. We've all been stuck at home,
cut off from friends, family, coworkers—without even the fleeting company of
random strangers, such as your favorite coffee barista, bus driver, or salesclerk.
But what if this sort of isolation were an everyday occurrence, and a major
pandemic wasn't the only reason to be spending so much time home alone?
Based in part on stats from the U.S. Census Bureau, a recently
released report by Self Financial has revealed that nearly 532,000 adults in
Louisiana live alone—and 34 million in the entire country. This amounts to approximately
15 percent of the total population in both instances.
Some people live alone by choice, for reasons such as
a desire for more space, greater independence, keeping an unusual schedule, or
just plain being too darn set in your ways or too introverted to want to shack
up with a roomy. On the other hand, some adults don't have much of a say in the
matter, if a child moves out, a spouse passes away, or they can't find a
compatible potential cohabiter. Either way, under normal circumstances, many
people don't object too much to independent living. You meet up with pals for
brunch, Happy Hour drinks after work, or get enough fill of people from the
office, school, gym class… Then, you go home by yourself, to have yourself a
little you time. Some time away from the personalities you conflict with
or your mean boss, demanding coworker, that annoying friend that you can only
take in small doses…
But during quarantine, all bets are off. You're home
alone and that's it, and living alone gets lonely. Zoom meet-ups are one option
to ease the isolation. Walk around the block to "visit" a neighbor from
six-plus feet away. Or you might dare to go out to the store to buy some celery
or Oreos, just so you can see another human face—at least, the eyes still visible above their masks.
If you're tired of being alone, you're not alone. But,
when it comes to living by yourself, you're also in good company.
The number of people living alone in the U.S. has
nearly doubled in the past 50 years, the Self Financial report explains. The
main causes of this are higher salaries, increased city living, and more women
in the work force.
The report also shows that the most prevalent single-living
age group is 75 and over, due to the death of significant others, while those aged
18 to 24 are the least likely to nest as one, as they tend to still live with
the 'rents or to be more roommate-amenable.
Men "in the prime of their lives" (ages 25 to 64) are
more inclined to live alone (no comment), while this tendency flip-flops once
they reach the age of 65, when they surpass women on the trend towards cohabitation.
Finally, geography also plays a huge part in the
inclination for settling solitarily. North Dakota has the highest number of homes-for-one,
while the least can be found in California and Hawaii, where the high cost of
living makes it tougher to pay the rent when swinging solo. Louisiana is the 17th
state on the list, with 30.6 percent of all households with a single person's name
on the mailbox. As for our cities with the most individualistic digs, Lafayette
ranks at number 8 (21.1 percent of total adults) on the list of small cities
with the highest number of unaccompanied non-minors. Shreveport came in at
number 24 (19.6 percent) and Baton Rouge at number 28 (19.3 percent) for
midsize cities, while New Orleans won the bronze at number three among large
cities, with 25.9 percent of adults exercising their right to autonomous living.