Memos from Asia

Young People Living Alone in China: I am One in 77 Million, but Also a Unique Individual

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According to statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, there are currently more than 200 million single adults in China, including more than 77 million adults living alone. Another data shows that the number of young people aged 20-39 living alone is close to 20 million.

In large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, there are more and more young people living alone. Either actively or passively, living alone is becoming a common lifestyle for them.

Ease and freedom is true; loneliness is also true

Beijing, China

For fresh graduates, sharing rent is the most cost-effective. It can relieve the pressure of renting and guarantee the quality of life to some extent. Before living alone, Zhang Jia, a young woman born in 1989 and live a wandering life in Beijing, had two years of shared living life before living alone.

The first roommate was a girl who would often bring her boyfriend back to stay overnight. Since there was only one bathroom in the house, it would inevitably embarrassing. The girl also quarreled a lot with her boyfriend. Zhang Jia could feel the tense atmosphere across two doors.

The second roommate was a couple. In Zhang Jia’s impression, they don’t come back to live often, but they always lend their bedroom to their friends, “One morning, I was going to wash up, but I saw a strange man coming out of the opposite room, greeted me and sailed away, and I was petrified.”

The most laughable thing was that she finally waited the couple moving out, “They not only emptied their own room but also removed my pots and pans in the shared kitchen. At that time, I was determined to live on my own, even if it was more expensive.”

Zhang Jia re-rented a suite and started living alone, without compromising others and completely pleasing herself. “You don’t have to worry about your roommate coming back soon to speed up the shower, don’t have to order a takeaway hastily due to conflicts with roommate’s cooking schedule. In the past, when I used the shared apartment, even listening to a song I have to be careful, not dare to turn the sound too loud, but now I can finally sing out loud to the music!”

In addition to having to get used to eating alone, walking back home from work alone, and going to the hospital alone, Zhang Jia has also transformed from a “soft girl” into an “all-rounded woman” who can climb a ladder to change light bulbs and repair water pipes with her bare hands.

After living alone, Zhang Jia stayed away from all suspense and horror films and dramas. Every time she saw the news of a single female living alone and facing danger, she could not help but substitute herself in it.

Shanghai, China

She once read a message on the Internet that she thinks it is particularly suitable for herself: “No one asks me if my meal is warm, no one stands by me enjoying the sunset.” I am lonely like a cat, Siri, and I have become friends. Once fell asleep on the sofa while watching TV, woke up to find that everything was still the same, no one to turn off the TV, and no one covered me with a blanket….”.

Beijing, China

Ways to solve Loneliness: Cat, Dog, Travel, and Workout

Walking people in Shanghai.

In 2018, Momo Data Research Institute conducted a survey of the “loneliness” on over 10,000 young people who live in big cities. The survey showed that 61.47% of people usually feel lonely. In terms of the frequency of loneliness, occasionally lonely people accounted for 51.77%; often lonely accounted for 27.22%; everyday lonely accounted for 21.01%. Being uprooted from hometown, being single, being poor, having no friends, and being frustrated in a career are the main causes of loneliness.

The survey found that 57.69% of the lonely people said that they would consume in order to relieve their loneliness. 49.34% spent their money on playing games, satisfying themselves in the ranking of games; 38.33% were keen on shopping, looking forward to the moment when the delivery man came to break the loneliness; 37.67% spent it on watching movies, forgetting loneliness in the joys and sorrows of others; 34.35% turned loneliness into an appetite. 34.08% sang loneliness to themselves.

Others say that they have pets to resolve their loneliness, and have to spend money regularly on their pets, whether it is pet food, supplies, or services such as going to a pet store to nurse their pets. For them, a pet is more than just a pet. Having a pet largely ease their loneliness as well.

Hangzhou, China

Dai Dai has been Chen Qingxi’s companion for nearly three years. During the days when she lived alone, “when I opened the door and saw her own cat enthusiastically jumping on me, the cold and deserted house also had a warmth.”

In addition to raising cats and dogs, young people who live alone have various ways to quell their sense of decadence and loneliness.

“It is better to improve myself when I am idle.”

Though at the marriageable age, Cong Cong has made many life plans for herself. For example, using a lunch break to go to the gym to exercise, eat healthily and cook for herself, travel abroad 2-3 times a year, and buy gifts for herself when she is stressed… Recently, she signed up for a boxing class. All the free time she has arranged fully, not only to “kill” the time but also to make herself better. “Although I often feel lonely, I don’t want to socialize ineffectively. It is better to improve myself when I am idle.”

Haruki Murakami once said in the book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: “I am a disposition that loves being alone or a disposition that doesn’t suffer from being alone. I’m not bored when I have an hour or two a day with no one to talk to, whether it’s running alone or writing.”

“Compared to doing things with people,” he feels, “I prefer to read in silence or listen to music in full concentration by myself. I can think of a lot of things to do just by myself.”

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