One of the biggest changes to the way we live has been the big increase in the number of people who live alone.

More than a quarter of all households in the UK contain just one person, around 7.7 million people, and this is predicted to increase by another two million over the next decade or so.

It is partly about living longer – older people whose partners have died increasingly find themselves on their own. Around 2.2 million people over 75 live alone, some 430,000 more than in 1996.

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