7. Men live commonly alone in middle age as well

The proportion of those living alone of the total population has gradually grown from 13 per cent two decades ago to today's one-fifth. The majority (32%) of the population live in two-person household-dwelling units. Over one-half of persons aged 55 to 79 live in two-person household-dwelling units.

Figure 15. Household-dwelling unit population by size in 1990–2012

Figure 15. Household-dwelling unit population by size in 1990–2012

In all, women live by themselves more often than men do. One-quarter of the women and 22 per cent of the men aged over 15 live alone. The gendered proportional distribution of living alone is somewhat different when examined against age. Changes are the most drastic in the life cycle of women, who live alone when young and most probably again when old. The proportion of women living alone is the lowest when they are aged between 36 and 43; this is when 11 per cent of women in this age group live alone.

Like young women, young men live alone. However, the number of men living alone does not fall with age to a level as low as that of women living alone, but the percentage share of those living alone remains almost the same for those aged slightly over 30 and those aged nearly 80. Twenty-four per cent of 32-year-old men live alone and the proportion remains almost unchanged right up to the age of 78 after which it starts growing. The number of men living alone is partly explained by divorces and cohabiting relationships ending. In a divorce, the children usually stay with the mother and the father lives alone, at least temporarily.

Compared with the situation in 1990, living alone among women and men has increased strongly particularly in the youngest age groups but also in the older age groups. On the other hand, it has become more common for middle-aged men to live alone. In terms of numbers, 65-year-old women are the largest age group of those living alone. In terms of numbers, the largest age group of men living alone are 27-year-olds.

Figure 16. Men and women living alone as a proportion of age group in 1990 and 2012

Figure 16. Men and women living alone as a proportion of age group in 1990 and 2012

Source: Population and Cause of Death Statistics, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Marjut Pietiläinen 09 1734 2798, Timo Nikander 09 1734 3250, vaesto.tilasto@stat.fi

Director in charge: Riitta Harala


Updated 13.1.2014

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Families [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3231. Annual Review 2012, 7. Men live commonly alone in middle age as well . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 20.8.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/perh/2012/02/perh_2012_02_2013-11-22_kat_007_en.html