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Title: The rise of living alone and loneliness in history
Authors: Snell, K. D. M.
First Published: 6-Jan-2017
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Citation: Social History, 2017, 42 (1), pp. 2-28
Abstract: This article connects two current debates: the rise of single-person households or of ‘solitaries’, and the so-called ‘loneliness epidemic’. It raises questions about how these are associated, via social-science literature on loneliness as a social, contextual and subjective experience, and findings in that literature about the relevance of lone-person households. The article is concerned to explore the history of living alone as a form of family structure, via analysis of European, North American and Japanese pre-industrial and industrial listings of inhabitants, and the post-1851 British censuses to 2011. It also does this cartographically via British mapping of lone-person households in 1851, 1881, 1911 and 2011. It documents dramatic rise across many countries in single-person households during the twentieth century, notably since the 1960s. Many pre-industrial settlements had no single-person households, and the average was around 5 percent of households. The current western proportions of such households (e.g. 31 percent in the UK) are wholly unprecedented historically, even reaching to 60 percent or more of households in some modern European and North American cities. The discussion examines this trend – which has very wide ramifications – and raises issues about its relevance for modern problems of loneliness as a social and welfare concern.
DOI Link: 10.1080/03071022.2017.1256093
ISSN: 0307-1022
eISSN: 1470-1200
Embargo on file until: 6-Jul-2018
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2017, Taylor & Francis (Routledge). Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy.
Description: The file associated with this record is under embargo until 18 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Historical Studies

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Snell, Social History, figure 1.tifPost-review (final submitted author manuscript)44.78 kBTIFFView/Open
Snell, Social History, Figure 2 .tifPost-review (final submitted author manuscript)733.71 kBTIFFView/Open
Snell, Social History, figure 3, 1851 .tifPost-review (final submitted author manuscript)39.47 kBTIFFView/Open
Snell, Social History figure 4, 1881.tifPost-review (final submitted author manuscript)49.25 kBTIFFView/Open
Snell, Social History, figure 5, 1911.tifPost-review (final submitted author manuscript)58.84 kBTIFFView/Open
LONELINESS+IN+HISTORY%2C+cut+down+version+2%2C+for+Social+History%2C+26.7.2016.pdfPost-review (final submitted author manuscript)351.69 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
Snell%2C+Social+History%2C+list+of+figure+captions.pdfPost-review (final submitted author manuscript)85.48 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

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