In recent years, the percentage of people in the Netherlands living without a partner has been increasing steadily. Now one in four men aged 18–62 years does not live with a partner and is not in a relationship. For women this is one in five.
One-third of 18–62 year-olds live without partner
In 2005 3.3 million people aged 18–62 years in the Netherlands lived without a partner. This is one third of the total number of people in this age group. The group includes single people (1.6 million), children living at home (1.1 million), single parents (394 thousand) and other memberss of multi-person households (178 thousand).
Men aged 18–62 years more often live without a partner than women of the same age. This is mainly because there are more single men than single women. Also, more men than women still live with their parents: boys leave the parental home at an older age on average than girls. More women are single parents, as children more often remain with their mother after a divorce.
Persons (18–62 years) living without partner
Staying single or not
The survey showed that four out of ten 18–24 year-old men living without a partner are in a steady relationship. Another just over four in ten want a steady relationship. The picture is different for 45–62 year-old men: six in ten of them do not want a steady relationship (or at least not at the moment). More than 80 percent of 18–24 year-old men and women have or want a steady relationship. Two-thirds of 45–62 year-old women do not want a steady relationship at the moment.
Persons (18–62 years) living without partner, by desired relationship, 2003
More men than women who have ever been married have or want a steady relationship. Ever married women are twice as likely definitely not to want a steady relationship.
For people who have never been married, the opposite is true: unmarried women are more likely to be in a steady relationship than unmarried men. Unmarried men are also more likely definitely not to want a steady relationship than never married women.
Persons (45–62 years) living without partner, by desired relationship, 2003
More than half of women who definitely do not want a permanent relationship and who have been married in the past report that relationships cause many problems and that bad experiences from previous relationships played a part in their choice to remain single. Just under half of these women said they did not have high hopes concerning relationships. Just over eight out of ten women with children say they no longer want a permanent partner. They prefer to stay alone with the children.
Arie de Graaf and Suzanne Loozen