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A few months ago, Nicki Roswell had a knock on her door. A neighbour needed the back of her dress laced up and didn’t have anyone to do it for her. Ms. Roswell sympathized, since she lives alone herself, and fastened the woman’s clothing.The two are residents of Liberty Village, a fast-growing downtown Toronto neighbourhood where nearly 55 per cent of the population – 2,200 people, from ambitious twentysomethings to midlife professionals – resides solo.

While they may live by themselves, demographically they are in good company: There are now, for the first time, more one-person households in Canada than those populated by couples who have children. (Only two-person households are more common.)

Census figures released last fall revealed that 27.6 per cent of Canadian homes have just one occupant, a vast shift from decades past.

Single dwellers accounted for only 7.4 per cent of homes in 1951 and 13.4 per cent in 1971.

Today, there are 3,673,305 single-occupancy households in the country, an increase that is mirrored in the United States and a few steps behind similar trends in Europe.

For her part, Ms. Roswell has enjoyed being “sequestered” in her bachelor townhouse since 2009, after her divorce. And the 39-year-old art director is not in any hurry to change it.

“You’re not anxious,” she says, “about ‘completing your life’ or ‘moving to the next phase,’ because this phase is not a place of discomfort.”

At least, not until it’s made that way by others, such as the family friend who asked her pointedly why women today believe their lives must be “perfect” before they have children, or the business associate who urged her to “go out and get some sperm, right away!”


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