Meet the Singletons April 2012

About This Report

In the relentless quest for attention-grabbing headlines, many reporters are adept at inflating the "findings" of authors and academics who are promoting their work but don't always check facts. Recent media attention to the number of adults living on their own is a case in point. A look behind the US numbers reveals that:

  • The proportions of adults living on their own have not changed significantly, but the actual number of these adults has increased primarily because of population growth.
  • Adults living on their own are not one homogeneous group. Findings vary depending on how one defines this population.
  • The decline in traditional nuclear families results naturally in an increase in both multigenerational and single-headed households.
  • The increase in one-adult, no-child households is significant among two consumer groups that hold marriage to be a sacred institution between one man and one woman.

The increase in Singleton households will alter customer demand. Consumer needs for everything from housing and long-term health care to transportation, travel, entertainment, and packaged goods are in flux. The extent of disruption by industry will depend on the degree to which Singletons successfully cope with their status. Their ability to cope depends not only on their financial resources but also on their psychological and emotional fortitude. Why should Singletons matter to your organization?

Table of Contents

Background 1
Innovators: 8% of Singletons 3
Thinkers: 6% of Singletons 4
Believers: 15% of Singletons 5
Achievers: 8% of Singletons 6
Strivers: 17% of Singletons 7
Experiencers: 23% of Singletons 8
Makers: 9% of Singletons 9
Survivors: 14% of Singletons 10
Conclusions 11