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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 November, 2004, 11:03 GMT
Forget Bridget Jones - meet Brad
Man drinking
Singletons - male and female - drink more
New statistics have turned the image of single people living on their own as women like Bridget Jones on its head.

There are now more single men in their thirties than women, according to researchers at Edinburgh University.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of men choosing to remain single and live alone has reached record levels.

Between the ages of 25 and 44, men have been found to be twice as likely as women to live by themselves.

The lifestyle of the reluctant female singleton was shown in Helen Fielding's best-seller Bridget Jones's Diary and its sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.

Single men 30-39 up by 50,000
Men twice as likely to live alone
Singletons drink more
Singletons work longer hours
Singletons worry more
Singletons don't eat properly
Source: Edinburgh University
But in the real world there are more than 1.65 million men aged between 30 and 39 who are single in the UK - up more by than 50,000 from last year. Compared to 1.27 million women in the same age range, making "Brad Jones" the new Bridget.

Overall men below retirement age are five per cent more likely to live alone.

Singletons - male or female - are said to drink more than married people because they socialise more.

They work longer hours because they have no partner to make time for, and they often end up skipping meals like breakfast and eating unhealthy meals on the go.

They also have to cope with more worries, the survey suggests, because they do not have an emotional confidante with whom to share their problems.

What we regard as the norm is changing
Adam Smith, researcher

The statistics were the initial findings of a study into solo living as a growing social trend at the university's Centre for Research on Families and Relationships.

The rise of the single household has escalated in the last decade, with the percentage of single households trebling since the 1970s and doubling again since the mid-80s.

Adam Smith, who undertook the research with Professor Lynn Jamieson and Dr Fran Wasoff, said: "Solo living affects city populations in particular where single professionals often choose to settle and take advantage of a metropolitan lifestyle.

"What we regard as 'the norm' is changing and this has implications for families, relationships, as well as working and housing arrangements."

Your comments

As a 40-something 'solo-liver', I was in agreement with Morrissey who espouses the benefits of living alone. I very rarely felt lonely or depressed; cooked and ate well and lived within my means. I did neglect the dusting though. A few months back however, my girlfriend moved in and I am now getting used to sharing my space...whether Morrissey is correct remains to be seen!
Wally Grainger, London, UK

I can't imagine being anything other than single now
John, Aylesbury, England
Following the break down of a 15 year relationship (not my choice!), I've been single for 7 years. I can't imagine being anything other than single now, .....I've got used to total control of finances and feel under a lot less pressure to achieve. Being single means you are in control. Having said that, I really miss her cooking!
John, Aylesbury, England

I am single and mostly enjoy being single. I have a lot of good friends and a good social life but have to admit to missing having a partner at times. I call it "someone to nudge" - i.e. did you read that in the paper, you'll never guess what happened today etc. This research into the number of single people makes me wonder how long it will take the media and society to realise that it is possible to be single and love it. Maybe we need more positive role models - not just Bridget Jones.
Melanie, Somerset

I've been living alone for 3 years now. Whilst it has its benefits (you can spend time with friends when you want), there are most certainly drawbacks. The findings around working longer hours, and lacking a confidante are so very true. I believe this to be a vicious circle. By working longer hours, and also looking within yourself to deal with problems, I find myself not finding the time to meet anyone new.
Nigel, UK

I am a gay man in a relationship for 10 years. Yet when I fill in a form the only box I can tick is single (the state still does not recognise my relationship). I bet a considerable proportion of these men are gay and their relationships just aren't recognised or they are enjoying the single life. Gay men are always treated as single, it seems difficult for many people to acknowledge loving gay relationships.
David Reid, London

Being single is not worse but just different
Mick, Belfast
I'm just off the back of a 5 year relationship and am adjusting nicely to single life after having thought my days of happiness would evaporate with my break-up. Being single is not worse but just different, I socialise more and feel more confident without my girlfriend. I am now, however, a connoisseur of local pizza establishments.
Mick, Belfast

For me it's not about being single or married, it is about the quality of the relationships in your life. Stay positive, enjoy yourself, challenge yourself, be open and caring and you will be surrounded by good people. Then marry ... or not ... it's up to you.
Richard Fairchild, Plymouth, Devon

Having been abandoned and divorced and left to a tiny flat and limited lifestyle I subsequently met my partner and am very happy. However, both she and I retain our own places and are both very happy to just see each other and whilst committed have no intention of swapping lifestyles for conventional "norms". We are there when we need each other and independent apart from that.
Arthur, Cambridge, UK

It is my impression that single people don't necessarily have more worries to cope with, just different ones. But enjoying the support of a confidante isn't the exclusive privilege of married people - singles are usually better at seeking and maintaining close friendships.
Ioanna, Thessaloniki, Greece

I totally concur with the findings. I am 32, have been single for 3 years, though would very much like to be with someone, but find it practically impossible to meet people because of today's lifestyle in the UK. I work more and more hours to fill in my time and get more and more stressed as I have no shoulder to cry on.
Paul, Colchester, UK

We go home to our own space at the end of the evening and come and go as we please
Jamie, Herts, UK
I am very single and would not change it for the world. I am early 30s, I now own my home outright, and am not in debt to a soul. I like my space, and would hate to have to share it with anyone. I have a great social life, and my friends tend to have similar views to me regarding living alone. We go home to our own space at the end of the evening and come and go as we please. You can't beat it!
Jamie, Herts, UK

I am a 26 year old male. I have been completely celibate in every respect for more than 12 months and I am happier than I have ever been. I have stopped smoking and drinking completely. I have lost weight and taken up Tae Kwon Do, meaning I am now happier with my appearance than ever before in my life. In other words, I do not lack confidence, but by the same token, do not feel that I need somebody to be with me to buoy my confidence. Proof that not all single people are desperate to be with somebody for the sake of their own feeling of self-worth. Did I mention how much money you save by being single?
Dave, Liverpool, UK

Having just been dumped by my wife and spending this weekend with a mate who was dumped by his girlfriend and his housemate who was dumped by his wife I may have a jaundiced view, but it's not desperately encouraging news to find that I'm now in for even more stress and an unhealthy lifestyle...
Patric, Bristol, UK

Best news I have heard in a long time - only problem I can see with the report is it doesn't tell us where they all are.......
Tessa, UK

Dark side of blind dating
12 May 04 |  Wales
Single women outnumbered by men
27 Feb 04 |  Politics
Love at the click of a mouse
09 Feb 04 |  Northern Ireland


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