Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Will high inflation reverse the rise of single-person households?

“Single-person households in the U.S. have steadily increased since 1960. Between 1960 and 2015, the number of single-person households soared to 34.9 million from 6.9 million, and their share of total households more than doubled from 13.1 to 28.0 percent” (JSTOR-2019).

Early 2022, The Netherlands, my country, had 8.1 million private households of which 3.2 million are single-person households (CBS). Hence, almost 40%. CBS: “This phenomenon, sometimes known as ‘household shrinkage’, means that the number of households has grown much faster than the population.”

Will high inflation reverse the rise of single-person households? If yes, how?

In the 1980’s, the maximum debt-to-income ratio was 4. Hence, the maximum mortgage was 4x your annual salary. Slowly, things changed (eg, dual income, low interest, redemption “free”). In 2021, the average Dutch salary was 38,100 euro while the average house price was 387,000 euro. Hence, c.10x.

Ever since the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, global consumer prices are rising. In August 2022, Dutch inflation was 13.6% which is without historical comparison. A continued high inflation should have an impact on the number of single-person households. Group-living may become a necessity.

Traditionally, group-living is along a F/M relationship, with or without children. High global divorce rates resulted in an increase of single-person households. However, group-living has two other options: either all Female or Male. A mix may create tensions (eg, New Girl, rated #7.7 in IMDb).

The huge rise in single-person households would suggest that a rise in all-female or all-male households is more likely than a new rise in traditional F/M households. Actually, my son is living in an all-male group household. However, the parents of one of the group members bought that house.

Adult children returning to their (retired) parents is another option. It may explain the legal cases of (retired) parents evicting their adult children (eg, example-1, example-2, example-3, example-4).

Would I consider group-living? Actually, I did several years ago. Practical reasons prevented it (eg, storage). Would I consider a traditional F/M household again? Yes. Would inflation be a reason? I doubt that. My single-person household is a priority that drives my (other) consumption choices.

Living All Alone (1986) by Phyllis Hyman (1949-1995)
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-album

[Chorus]
Whoa oh, I can’t stand this living all alone
Whoa oh, I can’t stand this living all alone
Oh no no no whoa

[Verse 2]
Now I live a single life and I find it’s another world
I’m not even the same I’m a different girl
Yesterday I was somebody’s baby
Now today I’m a woman on my own

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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