CUS WPS No.11 | Ronald, R. (2014) The Remarkable Rise and Peculiar Context of Younger One-Person Households in East Asian Cities

Numbers of one-person households in East Asia have expanded dramatically in recent decades, especially among younger cohorts living in cities. This shift derives from specific changes in economic conditions and neoliberal policy influences that have interacted with family and marriage norms as well as housing market conditions.

Focusing on urban Japan and South Korea, this paper addresses interactions of shifting urban conditions that have channeled particular manifestations of single-dwelling featuring disproportionate shifts in housing pathways among younger-adult cohorts toward living alone in rental housing.

We identify how features of East Asian cities, in particular housing markets and high-speed renewal of the built-environment, have contributed to the growth in one-person households, as well as how the proliferation of singlehood and living alone is reshaping urban redevelopment. This shift represents a particular disruption in social and spatial reproduction that has implications for future welfare and urban conditions in this region more generally.

12 March 2015