Metros with the most homeowners living alone

Annalise Mantz3-minute read
UPDATED: May 05, 2023

Becoming a homeowner can be very rewarding – and it’s an especially impressive feat for those who do it on their own. Before getting the keys, solo home buyers must navigate saving for a down payment, securing a mortgage, searching for available homes, then getting an offer accepted on a property, all on just one income and one person's schedule.

Of course, some single-person households may not have begun that way, but downsized with changes in the family unit over time. Reasons for living alone vary, but can include being widowed or divorced, or having adult children or aging grandparents move away.

Nationally, more than 1 in 4 of all owner-occupied homes are made up of single-person households, according to 2021 Census Bureau data. In just the last decade, the number of adults living alone increased by about 12%, from 33 million Americans in 2011 to 37 million in 2021. Currently, people over the age of 65 make up a little less than half of single-person households.

Social Changes Shift Living Arrangements 

In 1950, only 9% of households reported having only one occupant. By 2021, that figure has more than doubled. One major factor may be the continued decline in marriage rates. In 2021, one-third of adults had never been married, according to Census Bureau data. That's an increase from 23% in 1950, when marrying was the social norm for young people. The median age for marriage was 20 for women and 23 for men in 1950, a trend that resulted in 87% of households being headed by a married couple.

The population migration from rural areas to cities likely also plays a part in the trend of more adults living alone, as urban dwellers often have more independent lifestyles and financial opportunities than their rural counterparts.

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15 Metros With The Most Single-Person Households

Today, the number of homeowners living alone varies from region to region. To find out where solo living is most common, Rocket HomesSM examined 2021 Census Bureau data to calculate which metropolitan areas had the highest share of homeowners who reported that they live in a single-person household. In this analysis, metropolitan areas include the main city as well as surrounding towns and suburbs.

Keep reading to discover the 15 metropolitan areas with the highest shares of homeowners living alone – and maybe even get inspiration for your next move.

Housing Affordability A Major Factor For Living Independently

All of the metropolitan areas in the top 15 are located in the South and Midwest – regions with less expensive homes, especially compared to the coasts. Housing affordability is an issue that factors into when – and if – Americans can afford living alone. A Pew Research study found that 70% of Americans feel that young adults face more financial challenges when saving and buying their first home compared to their parents’ generation. Meanwhile, the average rent has increased 18% over the last 5 years and almost half of all renters spend 30% or more of their income on housing. The financial pinch has no doubt delayed living independently for many, so cities that are more affordable provides more opportunity for people to live by themselves.

It’s also worth noting that one-third of the metropolitan areas on this list are in Florida – a popular retirement destination for older people. In fact, in 2022, 12% of all retirees looking to relocate moved to the Sunshine State. Offering beach living at a much lower cost compared to other coastal states like California or Hawaii, Florida also has no state income tax and 237 sunny days a year, which can be appealing to all ages. 

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Metros With The Most Homeowners Living Alone Chart


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Annalise Mantz

Annalise Mantz is an avid traveler, fitness fan, Harry Potter nerd, and home cook who's always working on my scone recipe. She lives in a tiny New York City apartment with her husband, but grew up on a ranch in Northern California surrounded by horses, dogs, and cats. Annalise is a jack of all trades, covering everything from dog breeds to historic U.S. destinations for Stacker.