1. Living Alone Is The New Norm

Gail Albert Halaban

The extraordinary rise of solitary living is the biggest social change that we've neglected to identify, let alone examine.

Consider that in 1950, a mere 4 million Americans lived alone, and they made up only 9% of households. Back then, going solo was most common in the open, sprawling Western states--Alaska, Montana and Nevada--that attracted migrant workingmen, and it was usually a short-lived stage on the road to a more conventional domestic life.

Not anymore. According to 2011 census data, people who live alone--nearly 33 million Americans--make up 28% of all U.S. households, which means they are now tied with childless...