A new report from the Mather Institute indicates that the number of solo agers, or “older adults who are not married, live alone, and do not have adult children whom they can rely on as they age,” is increasing in the United States. And this group faces a unique set of challenges.
Per the data in the report, which cites the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 22.1 million solo agers in America — 28% of older adults. Because of their situation, solo agers are more likely to lack social support networks, which, in turn may contribute to increased loneliness. A survey of 805 respondents, of which nearly a quarter were solo agers, found that 42% of solo agers were not satisfied with their lives compared to 30% of supported agers. Additionally, 22% of solo agers reported having poor mental health compared to 13% of supported agers.