Five years ago, in July 2015, I started an online group, the Community of Single People, to discuss every aspect of single life except dating or other attempts to escape single life. We are an international community of more than 4,500 members from more than 100 nations and we embrace our single lives, or aspire to do so.
Every year, sometime around the anniversary of the group’s creation, I write a happy birthday post, reviewing who we are and what has been happening. (You can find the previous ones here.) Sometimes I bemoan the sad fact that too many people outside of our group think “single” means “looking for a date or a mate.” Or that it means sad or lonely. (It doesn’t.)
I’m not moaning about that this time. When I googled “single” on July 1, 2020, not a single dating site appeared on the first page of results. Instead, I got what I should have gotten – mostly links to definitions.
A few videos were on the first page, too. The top one was Beyoncé’s wildly popular celebration of All the Single Ladies (though personally, I’d like to do away with the advice to put a ring on it). The number 2 video? My TEDx talk, “What no one ever told you about people who are single.” That made me ridiculously happy.
Even on page 2 of the Google results, it was not until I got to the second-to-the-last item that a dating site appeared. That made me happy, too. What the Community of Single People has been about since its inception – living single life to the fullest, not trying to escape it – may be edging into the mainstream understanding of what it means to be single. Maybe that’s overly optimistic, but it is our birthday and I’m going to celebrate.
Our Numbers, Today and Through the Years
I initially announced the formation of the Community of Single People (CoSP) in July of 2015 on this blog, another blog, and my website. Within five months, we had 600 members. The numbers since then have been:
Of the current 4,541 members, 73.5% (3,339 people) are active members, meaning that in the past 28 days, they have viewed, posted, commented on, or reacted to content in the group.
Number of New Conversations Started Every Day
Every day, there are about 20 new posts. Each one draws an average of 17 comments, though the specific numbers are quite variable. The 10 posts in the past month with the most engagement attracted between 100 and 300 comments, while others have drawn no comments at all.
Some of Our Most Engaging Conversations
With 555 posts over the course of the last 28 days in June, the reach of our conversations was far and wide. Here’s a sampling of the kinds of conversations that attracted the most engagement (comments and reactions):
- how to respond to people who are questioning our life choices
- discussions of dining alone, going to the beach alone, and favorite things to do alone
- what we used to think when we were younger that we grew out of
- posts from people who are going through a difficult experience
- posts from people who achieved something they are proud of
- discussions of what it takes to achieve financial independence as a single person
- our homes – what we love about them, what’s different about them for those who live alone
- discussions of living with roommates
- questions about which single people are the happiest
- discussions of the experience of being single during the pandemic
- discussions of friends and friendship
- introductions of fur babies
We also talk about singlism – the ways that we, as single people, are stereotyped, stigmatized, left out of social events, and discriminated against, just because we are single. Some people don’t like those discussions. If you are one of them, and you don’t think you can just scroll past those conversations and focus on the ones you do like, then CoSP is not going to be the group for you.
Many more of our members are women than men, but more than a few of our most active members are men, so – at least to me – the conversations do not seem quite so disproportionate. (In the current membership, no one identified as other than male or female.)
3,460 are women (76%)
1,081 are men (24%)
In terms of age, our members range across the spectrum. Of those who indicated their age:
18 were under the age of 18
278 were between 18 – 24
929 were between 25 – 34
1,197 were between 35 – 44
981 were between 45 – 54
649 were between 55 – 64
384 were 65 or older
Facebook only lists the top 100 countries, so I don’t know the precise number of nations represented in the Community of Single People, except to say that it is at least 100.
The countries with at least five members are:
2,597 members: United States
346 United Kingdom
119 South Africa
26 New Zealand
23 Pakistan, Ireland
22 Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Israel
17 Egypt, Romania
13 Poland, Belgium
11 Denmark, Portugal, Morocco, Singapore
10 Bangladesh, Norway
9 Italy, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Thailand
8 Malta, Vietnam, China
7 Greece, Zambia, Czech Republic, Finland, Turkey, Bulgaria, Lithuania
6 Trinidad and Tobago, Switzerland, South Korea, Guyana, Costa Rica
5 Iceland, Botswana, Jamaica, Japan, Croatia, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Nepal, Dominican Republic
Again, Facebook lists only the top 100 cities. Here are the ones with at least 10 members in our group.
123 members: New York, NY
74 London, UK
66 Los Angeles, CA
51 Nairobi, Kenya
50 Sydney, NSW, Australia
45 Melbourne, VIC, Australia
32 Denver, CO
31 Chicago, IL
30 Seattle, WA
29 Phoenix, AZ
27 San Francisco, CA
26 Toronto, ON, Canada
25 Austin, TX and Mumbai, India
24 Philadelphia, PA and Portland, OR, and Brisbane, QLD, Australia
21 Cape Town, South Africa
20 San Diego, CA, and Durban, South Africa, and Delhi, India, and Washington, DC
19 Durham, NC, and Houston, TX, and Lagos, Nigeria, and Atlanta, GA
18 Johannesburg, South Africa
16 Minneapolis, MN, and Ottawa, ON, Canada, and Kolkata, India, and Vancouver, BC, Canada
15 Auckland, New Zealand, and Montreal, QC, Canada, and Jacksonville, FL, and Pittsburgh, PA, and Sheffield, UK, and Dublin, Ireland
14 San Jose, CA, and San Antonio, TX, and Cincinnati, OH, and Tucson, AZ, and Dallas, TX
13 Indianapolis, IN, and Las Vegas, NV, and Bangalore, India, and Kansas City, MO, and Cleveland, OH, and Detroit, MI
12 Manchester, UK, and Calgary, AB, Canada, and Oakland, CA, and Hyderabad, India
11 Jakarta, Indonesia, and Singapore, Singapore, and Milwaukee, WI, and Toledo, OH
10 Boston, MA, and Pretoria, South Africa, and Newport News, VA, and Perth, WA, Australia, and Victoria, BC, Canada
We’re a Private Group, But We Continue to Be Recognized Publicly
Over the years, the Community of Single People has been mentioned in books, magazines, and other media. Since last July, it has gotten a nod in stories about the pandemic, such as this one in the Washington Post, in Peter McGraw’s Solo podcast, Shani Silver’s Single Serving podcast, and a luxury magazine from Australia that boasted about the number of CoSP members who were from Australia (can’t remember the name – sorry), among others.
I am partial to the Community of Single People, obviously. But there are other discussion groups for singles, and other resources such as books, blogs, videos, podcasts, advocacy groups, and academic writings. I’ve pulled together all the ones I know of (leaving out any that are obsessed with dating) in this collection “Resources for single people who are not whining about being single.”
Until Next Year…
Happy birthday, CoSP, and thank-you to the 4,541 members who have made it what it is. Special thanks to the administrators who have been fielding all the requests for membership and doing so much more to keep the group humming along.