ORANGE is the living alone capital of the region with a growing number of people the sole occupant of their home.
In the latest census figures Orange showed a jump of almost 400 more people living alone compared to the census in 2006.
With 26.5 per cent of Orange’s population living alone, the city is placed above the regional average where 25.6 per cent of the population of towns and villages are the sole occupants of their home.
For Orange woman Joy Engelman, who has lived alone for several years after her divorce, the statistics she says are higher than she would have imagined despite having many friends male and female who live alone.
“I live alone but I can honestly say I am never lonely - I love the feeling of waking up and thinking I can do exactly what I like,” she said.
Ms Engelman who is part of a generation where a woman living alone could not get a car or home loan without the approval of their husband or father said the statistics reveal a new-found freedom forged by women of her generation who have kicked over the traces of staying in relationships because of financial necessity.
Jola Nejman says while living alone she enjoys not having to live up to the expectations of a partner.
“There is no judgement any more,” she said.
However John Da Rin says living alone can be expensive.
“You have the same rates, electricity and heating costs without someone to share those expenses,” Mr Da Rin said.
“But after all people ultimately decide to live alone and they have to bear those expenses,” said Alistair Drake.
Mr Da Rin said the number of people living alone in Orange, 3874 by the last count means local government planning for an increase in this category in the future is essential.
However according to Swinburne University PhD candidate Sue Malta who has researched relationship status in older Australians, the over 60s are continuing to look for love on the internet, and running parallel to this is the emergence of a new model “living apart together” in which people don’t commit to living together because of financial, and family pressures.
In Orange 4166 households are made up of couples with children, followed closely by people living alone.
Couples with no children make up 23.8 per cent of the population with single parents coming in fourth at 11.9 per cent of Orange’s population.