The Rise of Solo Living in Taiwan: Age, Gender, and Educational Differences

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 11 (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Yu-Hua CHEN, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Family sociologists have been engaged in a heated debate about dramatic transitions in the structure and functions of families over the twentieth century. What is new is the option of forming a one-person household within a traditionally family-oriented society like Taiwan. According to the latest population census, there are more than 1.6 million Taiwanese or 7.2 percent of the population living alone in 2010. The one-person households have constituted 22 percent of the total households. Such a rise is attributed to the increasing number of young Taiwanese in their twenties and thirties who leave their parents’ homes to live independently as well as people who delay marriage or choose not to get married. There are also those who live alone after getting divorced and some widowed seniors who live by themselves. However, people living alone can be split into two types, elective one-person households who have chosen living alone as well as forced one-person households who have been constrained to this lifestyle by circumstances. Why are more people living in one-person households in Taiwan? How much is by choice and how much is by necessity? What demographic and socioeconomic factors underlie the growth and how are these likely to change in the future? To answer these questions, this research examines the factors that affect the formation of one-person households among Taiwanese and their housing characteristics by using four decennial censuses of 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010.