Reasons for the increase in single person households

OCR G672 

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  • Created on: 25-05-12 18:06
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Identify and explain two reasons for the increase in single person households over the
past 30 years.
One reason for the increase in single person households over the past 30 years would be due to
the changing in attitudes towards marriage and cohabitation among the young, shown by
a willingness to delay marriage and parenthood: the average age of marriage has risen by six
years since 1971.
Sue Sharpe (2001) found that young people felt marriage was becoming `more A
CHOICE than a necessity', with girls more aware of the pitfalls of marriage and a minority
of (poorer) girls seeing `no point in marriage'.
For some the idea of marriage may be rejected in favour of living alone: the term
`CREATIVE SINGLEHOOD' is used to describe a positive view of staying single: rather
than being seen as an `unfortunate spinster or bachelor' the single person has freedom
and independence.
It is argued that such attitudes have come about due to secularisation: the weakening
influence of the Christian Churches in the UK. The British Social Attitudes Survey shows it
is become increasingly acceptable to detach sex, child-bearing and child-rearing from
marriage.
Another reason for the increase in single person household is due to the effect of increased
life expectancy meaning there are increased numbers of elderly people.
There is tendency for women to outlive their partners and become widows because
women on average marry an older man and also on average live about 4 years longer
than men. The increased rate of divorce also means more elderly people live alone.
The social policy of `Care in the Community' might make it easier for more elderly
people to continue living independently in their own home, with the help of social
services and modern technology.

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