On 1 January 2006, there were 2.5 million singles living in the Netherlands, nearly 400 thousand more than a decade ago. Nowadays, more than one in every six males aged 15 or older live alone. The corresponding rate for women is one in five.
Most substantial increase among single males
The increase in singles was most substantial among males in the 35-54 age bracket. In absolute terms, their number grew from 300 thousand in 1996 to 419 thousand in 2006. The rate per 100 men increased from 13.1 to 16.7.
The share of singles increased across all age groups, excluding among 55 to 74-year-old women. The decrease in this age group was mainly caused by the fact that male life expectancy is continually rising.
The population growth partly accounts for the increase in singles, but the increase in people living alone is also due to the fact that more relationships break up and young people more often prefer to live alone.
Singles per 100 persons by age
Men more often live alone after divorce
There are noticeable differences between male and female singles in the age category 55-74. Women in this age group are often widowed, men are often divorced. Divorced women with children are more likely to form one-parent families, whereas men tend to live alone after a divorce.
In 2006, two-thirds of male singles have never been married. The rate for women is 42 percent. Four in every ten women and one in every ten men are widowed. In most marriages, the husband dies first.
Singles by gender, age and marital status, 1 January 2006
Young people prefer to live with a partner
Survey indicates that nearly all singles under 35 either have or would like to have a partner. The situation is different for 35 to 64-year-old men: one in five reject the idea of a permanent relationship. The rate for their female counterparts is one in four.
One third of women who do not seek a new relationship say that bad experiences in the past play a part in this respect. This applies to one in every four men. Just under half of men and one in four women are sceptical about a future relationship. Freedom is an important reason for both men and women not to engage in a relationship.
Arie de Graaf