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The Community of Single People: Happy Birthday, We’re 5 Years Old


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:

2016: 1,170

2107: 1,946

2018: 2,000+

2019: 3,433

2020: 4,541

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.

Gender

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%)

Age

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

Countries

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

221 Canada

172 Australia

152 India

119 South Africa

76 Kenya

72 Philippines

52 Nigeria

29 Mexico

28 Indonesia

26 New Zealand

25 Germany

23 Pakistan, Ireland

22 Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Israel

20 Malaysia

17 Egypt, Romania

14 Brazil

13 Poland, Belgium

12 France

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

Cities

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.

Other Resources

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.

The Community of Single People: Happy Birthday, We’re 5 Years Old


Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard; Academic Affiliate, Psychological and Brain Sciences, UC Santa Barbara), an expert on single life, is the author of several books, including "Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After" and "How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century." Her TEDx talk is "What no one ever told you about people who are single." Dr. DePaulo has discussed singles and single life on radio and television, including NPR and CNN, and her work has been described in newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and magazines such as Time, Atlantic, the Week, More, the Nation, Business Week, AARP Magazine, and Newsweek. Dr. DePaulo is in her sixties. She has always been single and always will be. She is "single at heart" -- single is how she lives her best and most meaningful life. Visit her website at www.BellaDePaulo.com.


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APA Reference
DePaulo, B. (2020). The Community of Single People: Happy Birthday, We’re 5 Years Old. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2020/07/the-community-of-single-people-happy-birthday-were-5-years-old/

 

Last updated: 24 Jul 2020
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