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Page last updated at 07:32 GMT, Friday, 15 April 2011 08:32 UK

Thousands more 'living a lonelier life'


The number of middle aged people living alone has soared by a third in the past decade, with singles making up 29% of Britain's 26m households.

Home editor Mark Easton explained that an extra half a million of 45 to 64-year-olds were now living on their own.

The reasons behind the trend were both the demographic bulge caused by the baby boomer generation, but also the dramatic drop in marriage and co-habitation.

"Often people make quite poor choices about what's likely to give them the greatest quality of life," he said.

Geoff Mulgan, Tony Blair's former head of policy and head of the think tank the Young Foundation, said that while "many of these people will be leading perfectly happy lives, but there are reasons to worry".

Isolation and loneliness would cause physical and mental problems, he said, and that as they move into old age there might be greater pressure on the government to care for them.

The baby boomer generation, while more materially wealthy, may be "losing out in terms of social wealth".

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