Living Alone and Living Together – Their Significance for Wellbeing

  • Elizabeth EckermannEmail author
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


Differential rates of demographic change between the developed and developing nations contribute to disparate living arrangements and contrasting cultural understandings of living together and alone. Among some cohorts in the developed world, who can afford it, living alone is seen as a lifestyle choice and representative of independence, thus not compromising of wellbeing. In some contexts living arrangements have minimal impact on wellbeing. However, in parts of the developing world, and among other cohorts in developed countries, living alone represents despair, abandonment and loneliness leading to diminished wellbeing. Overriding this cultural difference is the unambiguous population level data from across the world showing that intimate partnerships, particularly marriage, provide a protective shield against low personal wellbeing scores. The jury is still out on whether this protective effect necessarily involves cohabitation. The current rise in living- apart-together relationships and the possible future trend of living together virtually, through second life and other digital media, raises further questions about the nexus between living arrangements and wellbeing.


Demographic change Family structures Living arrangements Relationship formation Quality of life Subjective wellbeing Living-apart-together Marriage Cohabitation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Deakin UniversityGeelongAustralia

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