Living alone, but not lonely, in Atlanta
In the last 10 years, Atlanta has jumped 11 spots and pushed aside major cities loved by singles everywhere to achieve the title of No. 1 large city with the most people living alone.
In 2000, Hotlanta ranked 12th with 38.5% of the population living by their lonesome. The single population swelled in the next 10 years, pushing the number to 44% in 2010.
That’s more than perennial chart-toppers Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Va., which came in first and second, respectively in 2000 and then second and fourth in 2010. Both cities are well known for being hot spots for young professionals, and now Atlanta is starting to fit nicely into that category.
Lesley Reid, an urban sociologist and associate professor of sociology at Atlanta’s Georgia State University, said she was “surprised by how dramatic the rise” of singles was, but said it can be attributed to a large growth of Atlanta’s young professional population.
“Despite the economic downturn we’ve witnessed, we are still the magnet for the Southeast in terms of jobs,” she said.
Those jobs are causing a boom in the educated 20-somethings and 30-somethings moving to the area, pushing up the amount of people with Bachelor's degree or higher up by a 10% margin from 35% to 45% between 2000 and 2010, and the city is changing right along with it.
“If you just look at the skyline, you’ll see a lot of housing options for young professionals,” Reid said, noting these housing options aren’t ones that would come with mortgages.
“The young professional population in Atlanta was hit just as hard as that population everywhere else,” she said. “Because of that, they are looking to rent. Not to buy. You’re seeing a lot more investment in the higher-end rental market to accommodate the growing need.”
This type of real estate is shaping itself around the needs and desires of the younger professional generation, who are all about urban accessibility and work flexibility.
Reid said urban living arrangements are becoming more popular, as are live-work accommodations.
And while living alone can seem, well, lonely, Reid said Atlanta’s newest population is actually rather well connected.
Referencing work by Eric Klinenberg, who studied those who choose to live alone quite extensively, she said young professionals who live alone are likely to be quite well connected and more likely to experience the social side of the city.
So, if you are single, young and looking for a date, Atlanta might be the place for you!