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Friday, 24 April 2015


As I am leaving this house, which has sold, and looking for new digs, I am shocked by the number of people I have met who live alone, but will not rent out space. Why do single people need an entire house and big ones? A friend of mine knows four women who are living alone in huge houses. They will not rent. Renting parts of houses was not uncommon when I was younger. I rented an entire floor of a house from a widow at one time.

Perhaps it is because I lived in community for almost seven whole years, I am used to living in disciplined order with others. Perhaps it is because I was in the convent, that I know what it is like to share. Marriage alone does not really teach people how to share unless the couple have children. Children create mature adults, as the couple, who can just coast along as two single people doing things together, must die to self when the children come along. Children are part of our salvation as parents.

But, this great number of single people of which I have become aware since coming back to the States astounds me for another reason-many are women. Check out these statistics from here, the 2012 census.

• Sixty-six percent of households in 2012 were family households, down from 81 percent in 1970. • Between 1970 and 2012, the share of households that were married couples with children under 18 halved from 40 percent to 20 percent. • The proportion of one-person households increased by 10 percentage points between 1970 and 2012, from 17 percent to 27 percent. • Between 1970 and 2012, the average number of people per household declined from 3.1 to 2.6. 

27% of Americans live alone. This reveals two major problems: a lack of community causes this, and a lack of the ability to want to share causes this.

A nation, a culture with this many single households must not be seen as normal. Two conditions cause single households-the fact that people are not getting married, and the fact of an aging population which is not incorporated into families.

In days gone by, Grandma or Grandpa lived in families. Even in the 1980s, "Granny Flats" were popular in new houses being built, with little add-ons for the Aged P. In 2011, only 3% of White households were multi-generational, only 6% of Asian were multi-generational, and 8% of both Black and Hispanic households were multi-generational. Grandparents use to be part of daily life in communities.

Not so anymore.

 In 2011, there were 56 million married-couple households and 32 million one-person households--from article above.

Of those who live alone, 55.3% are women, and 44.7% are men. I spoke with a man yesterday who lives alone. His house is worth one million dollars. I do not "get it".

Coming from countries where community forms a primary part of daily life, as in Malta, I still cannot get use to the lack of local community, or the idea of so many people living alone.

I have created a monastic day complete with chapel. Even monastic communities get together several times a day. But, those I know who are living alone do not spend hours in prayer or study. One single woman I spoke with does visit the sick in her neighborhood, which is fantastic, but she also spends time watching television.

Americans seem to be heading for a real crisis of isolation leading to a lack of love and care for the elderly and the single, who seem to be choosing a lack of real love.

A statistic of 27% single households indicates an implosion of local community.

Review of one of my most controversial posts--