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Why New Research Says It’s OK to Stay Single (and Die Alone)

While the nuclear family continues to be held in high esteem throughout the world, single people are quietly cast as outliers—too weird or ugly or old to find a partner, doomed to die unhappy and alone. Despite the near 40 percent divorce rate (not to mention the outrageous cost of raising children) [in Canada] we’re only too happy to buy into the wedding-industrial complex. If you stay single, you’re pitied. If you don’t marry someone to take care of you in your decline, after all, you’ll probably die alone and be eaten by your cats. But new research suggests a shift is afoot.

According to a new book, singles are far from being in the minority—and they are far better positioned to realize happiness and fulfillment throughout their lives. In Happy Singlehood: The Rising Acceptance and Celebration of Solo Living , Hebrew University sociology researcher Elyakim Kislev examines the factors that have converged to make single people the fastest growing demographic in many countries throughout the world. From access to education and the influence of feminism, to consumerism and the rise of urbanization, he breaks down the reasons why people choose to to be single despite significant social pressure, and why they are happier and less selfish than their married counterparts. He investigates how some find intimacy in unconventional ways, meaning in their work (despite being paid less than married counterparts), and configure their own communities as they age.

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