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28th May 2015 1pm, Ladywell House, Edinburgh
Lynn Jamieson, University of Edinburgh
Does interview data help us understand the demographic trend? Dramatic claims have been made about the significance of the near global trend of increasing numbers of people living alone across all ages of adult life. In the book Living Alone Jamieson and Simpson weigh the evidence drawing on a wide research literature, as well as their own study of men and women living alone in urban and rural Scotland at ages conventionally associated with partnering and parenting. Many people living alone do not fit the stereotypes: without partners or caring responsibilities or cut adrift from local connections - some have partners living apart, some are hands-on parents or carers and most have rich connections with friends and family, locally and across distance. In the UK, only a small minority proportion, higher among men than women, are troubled and lonely, although a larger proportion, more urban than rural, may have little active engagement with others in their neighbourhood of residence. Do their accounts of themselves fit with the expectations of demographic theory such as second demographic transition?