More Dutch living alone

Apartment buildings

Last year 17.4 percent of the Dutch population lived alone, compared to 15.7 percent in 2008, Statistics Netherlands reported on Friday. The percentage of single-person households increased in all age groups except among people in their 70s and 80s.

The number of people living alone in the Netherlands has been increasing since the 1970s. Last year almost 3 million people formed a single-person household, 427 thousand more than a decade before. People living alone are relatively often in their 20s, but the chance of living alone is greatest for people age 70 or older, according to the stats office.

Due to the aging population, the absolute number of elderly people living on their own increased by 134 thousand in 2018 compared to 2008. However, the increased life expectancy also increased the age at which people are left alone after the death of their partner. Moreover, people nowadays are less likely to move to a care institution, where they do not count as living alone. The percentage of people in their 70s and 80s living alone therefore fell from 37 percent in 2008 to 33 percent in 2018. 

The percentage of over 90-year-olds living alone increased from 46.9 percent to 52.7 percent, though this is still a very small group, according to the stats office. The increase is because it is less common to move to a care institution now than it was 10 years ago. 

People in the age group 15 to 20 years are least likely to live on their own. Only 4.7 percent of teens in this group lived by themselves last year, compared to 5.6 percent in 2008. These are mostly young people who  left home for their studies. The percentage decreased because students now live with their parents for longer. 

People in their twenties live alone relatively often - last year 25.8 percent in the age group 20 to 25 years and 27.8 percent in the age group 25 to 30 years. The percentage of single person households is also relatively high in student cities - Groningen, Maastricht, Delft and Wageningen all have over 30 percent one person households. The national average is 17.4 percent. 

Statistics Netherlands expects the number of single person households to increase to 20 percent of he population by 2060. In 2035 the stats office expects there to be 3.6 million people who live on their own. The majority of this growth will be due to elderly people.