Poll: Half of Manhattan residents live alone
New Yorkers have no excuse for dateless Friday nights.
More than half of all Manhattan residents are living alone -- and the number of singles in the city is continuing to rise to historic levels, new Census Bureau data show.
That means you've got a 50-50 shot that the cute neighbor down the hall is looking for love.
The borough now resembles some kind of "Sex and the City" fantasyland with a majority of households, 50.3 percent, with just one resident -- no roommate, no spouse, no family, no kids.
When the other four boroughs are factored in, the single household rate drops to 33.5 percent -- a little closer to the national average of 27.5 percent, according the Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
New York first passed the 50 percent mark in 2007 in what sociologists called an inevitable trend.
There are numerous forces turning Manhattan into an isle of singletons, explained William Helmreich, deputy chairman of City College's sociology department. The factors include high-paying jobs, the expense of raising a family, longer-living widows and widowers, and, of course, a celebrated culture of singledom.
"Singles attract more singles," he said. "They participate in a lifestyle that is mutually reinforcing. The more single people engage in that lifestyle, the more acceptable it is, and the more acceptable it is, the more people are going to do it."
Sociologists now call the time people in their 20s and 30s spend solo "early adulthood" to differentiate it from the period before they marry and have children -- which is happening later and later.
Manhattan real-estate agents have long been profiting from the borough's lonesome ways.
There were 376,916 single households in Manhattan in 2008 -- that's up several thousand from the year before, according to the Census data.
"The biggest evidence of that trend, the biggest proof, is that it's easiest to rent a studio or small one-bedroom. Those are far and way the most popular apartments we rent," said Stu Greenberg, owner of the 15-year-old Fireside Realty in Manhattan.
Ladies, however, are at a disadvantage.
There are 212,000 single female households compared with 165,000 male single.
Many of those women are lonely hearts, but they aren't all Carrie Bradshaws.
"It reflects the large number of elderly in the city's population, and many live by themselves when their partner dies," noted Richard Alba, a sociology professor at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Lonely with just his dog
Ben Seiter lives alone, but can't wait to share his East Village place with that special somebody.
"Living with a girlfriend would be better. It would keep me more stabilized," said the 28-year-old real-estate agent.
"When you live with a girlfriend, they tend to keep you on your toes and keep you in line."
Seiter searches for his perfect match while roaming the neighborhood with his English bulldog, Olivia Newton-John.
One upside to living without a male roommate is that it is easier to look for Miss Right.
"I think girls are lot more comfortable dating someone who lives alone. You look more responsible," he said.
"You don't have to worry about someone walking in on you." Amber Sutherland
Grateful for her freedom
Gemma Alvarez, a 30-something personal trainer, can't imagine living any other way than solo.
"I've been alone in Manhattan since 2003," said Alvarez, who pays $1,850 a month for an East Village studio.
"I love living alone. I can focus on being fit, being healthy and building my business."
She said she is dating and just broke up with a boyfriend last month.
But for now, cohabitation is the last thing on her mind.
"It feels good to be free and not preoccupied with anyone else. I don't have to answer to anybody," she said.
"And Manhattan is the best borough. Everything is at your doorstep." Amber Sutherland