Is solo living is a matter of choice or circumstance in Turkey?

Pelin Cagatay, Hacettepe University
Ismet Koc, Hacettepe University Institute of Population Studies

“Solo living” is an increasing phenomenon especially in developed countries starting from 1960s. Turkey is also one of the countries showing an increasing tendency in the percentage of people living alone in recent years. With the demographic transition observed in Turkey, not only the fertility and mortality trends but also the composition of households changes significantly. The dissolution of traditional families during this process results in the increase of nuclear families and other type of families, including one-person households. Indeed, over the last 40 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people living alone in Turkey. The proportion of one-person households tripled between 1950 and 2003, rising from 2 to 6 percent. This change implies that nowadays over one million people are living alone in Turkey. The study has two different but highly interrelated objectives. The first is to identify the socio-demographic profiles (gender, marital status, education, residential location) of the people living alone in Turkey. The second is to determine whether “solo living” is a matter of choice or circumstance. Data comes from the demographic surveys and censuses conducted in Turkey during the period of 1950-2003. Preliminary results show that solo living expands in Turkey. Not only for metropolitan area but also for sub-districts and villages, number of one-person households increases between 1993 and 2003. Besides, considering the period of 1993-2003, the percentage of never-married women living alone increases from 3.4 to 13.3. The rising trend is also observed as regards the age group of 15-24 for both sexes especially for females. This emerging tendency appears to be the fact that solo living in Turkey is mainly due to choices rather than a circumstance. Indeed, this is one of the characteristic of the third phase of demographic transition being experienced in Turkey (1980 and further).

Presented in Poster Session 1