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Single society: A third of EU homes contain just one person

Single society: A third of EU homes contain just one person
By Selina Sykes
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More Europeans are living alone than ever before.


A third of EU households are composed of a single person, according to new figures released this month.

Out of 220 million homes in the European Union, 33 percent were lived in by just one person. In Sweden that number was over half of households (52 percent), followed by Lithuania, Denmark and Finland.

The lowest amount of people living alone was recorded in Poland, Slovakia, Portugal and Malta.

A quarter (25 percent) of households consisted of couples without children, while 20 percent were couples with children.

Finland had the highest share of couples living together without children at 32 per cent, while Ireland had the largest proportion of couples living with children at 28 per cent.

The Eurostat study of data collected in 2016 found that just four percent of European households were made up of single parents living with children.

At 9 percent, Denmark had the highest share of households consisting of single parents living with children.

The remaining 18 percent were made up were made up of other types of households such as house shares.

The largest average household size was recorded in Croatia at 2.8 people, while the smallest was in Sweden with 1.9 people.

Almost two thirds of households in Europe were composed of one or two people.

The rise of solo living

Solo living has increased considerably in the last 30 years, with people getting married later and divorce becoming more common.

The number of young adults moving out of their family homes to live alone has risen rapidly since the 1950s.

Eurostat also found that 31.1 percent of the elderly were living alone in the EU in 2014.

The solo-living trend is particularly high in Scandinavia, where welfare support protects most citizens with the difficult aspects of living alone.


The proportion of Europeans living alone has increased by 3.4 percent in the last decade.

The total number of households in the EU rose from 199 million in 2006 to 220 million in 2016, fueled by both population growth and an increase in people living alone.

European countries with the highest proportion of people living alone:

1. Sweden
2. Lithuania
3. Denmark
4. Finland
5. Germany
6. Estonia
7. Netherlands
8. Austria
9. Luxembourg
10. Slovenia

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