Number living alone doubles in 30 years

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The Independent Online

One in three Britons lives alone, double the number 30 years ago, according to a government survey.

One in three Britons lives alone, double the number 30 years ago, according to a government survey.

Since 1971, the proportion of one-person households has risen from 17 per cent to 32 per cent, according to the General Household Survey published yesterday, which paints a bleak picture of family life. In the 25 to 44 age group, 12 per cent live alone, compared to half of those aged 75 or over.

Average household size has fallen in three decades from 2.9 to 2.3 people, increasing pressure on housing and causing psychological problems.

During the same period, the proportion of single-parent families has tripled to 26 per cent, according to the survey of 19,000 adults by the Office for National Statistics. Figures for last year showed 23 per cent of families were raised by lone mothers, while the number of families with dependent children raised by a single father reached an unprecedented 3 per cent. In 2000, 9 per cent of men and women were co-habiting ,while 54 per cent of men and 51 per cent of the female population were married.

The survey, conducted between April last year and March 2001, showed that, in the past three years, modern technology has become increasingly common in British households. The number of homes with satellite, cable or digital access to television has increased from 29 per cent in 1998 to 40 per cent last year. In the same period, the number of homes with a CD player rose from 69 per cent to 77 per cent. Personal computers were a feature of 45 per cent of homes.

In 58 per cent of households there was at least one mobile phone owner, while 4 per cent had a mobile phone and no fixed telephone.

The General Household Survey 2000 can be read in full at www.statistics.gov.uk/lib

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