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Singles in the city: happily ever after?

Bernhard Riederer, Nina-Sophie Fritsch and Lena Seewann

Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 2021, vol. 19, issue 1, 319-353

Abstract: More people than ever are living in cities, and in these cities, more and more people are living alone. Using the example of Vienna, this paper investigates the subjective well-being of single households in the city. Previous research has identified positive and negative aspects of living alone (e.g., increased freedom vs. missing social embeddedness). We compare single households with other household types using data from the Viennese Quality of Life Survey (1995–2018). In our analysis, we consider overall life satisfaction as well as selected dimensions of subjective wellbeing (i.e., housing, financial situation, main activity, family, social contacts, leisure time). Our findings show that the subjective well-being of single households in Vienna is high and quite stable over time. While single households are found to have lower life satisfaction than two-adult households, this result is mainly explained by singles reporting lower satisfaction with family life. Compared to households with children, singles are more satisfied with their financial situation, leisure time and housing, which helps to offset the negative consequences of missing family ties (in particular with regard to single parents).

Date: 2021
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