If you live by yourself in East Tennessee, the latest U.S. Census figures say you are not alone. The Knoxville metro area tops the nation for percentage of one-person households.
The Business Journal compiled and aggregated data from the 2010 Census for 100 metro areas in the United States. It says Knoxville ranks highest in the nation with 32.9 percent of households being one-person. Other cities in the top five include: Pittsburgh, PA; Youngstown, OH; Albany, NY; Buffalo, NY.
Leigh Burch, president of Terminus Real Estate, said he is not surprised by the ranking. Terminus operates Sterchi Lofts in downtown Knoxville. Of the 100 apartments in the building, Burch said the units that go fastest are made for one.
"Our one bedroom unit is our most coveted unit. They have always been the easiest ones to rent," said Burch.
Other metro areas in Tennessee are closer to the national average. Single-person households comprise 27.06 percent of Nashville, 26.82 percent of Chattanooga, and 25.86 percent of Memphis.
Burch believes Knoxville's high percentage can be explained by a large amount of young professionals, recent college graduates, and relatively affordable housing.
"We have a lot of professionals in our buildings," said Burch. "There are lots of nurses from our hospitals, engineers with TVA, and teachers at the University of Tennessee. They can afford to have a place of their own. If you asked most of the people who live in our two bedroom units, I'd be willing to bet a lot of them have roommates strictly for the benefit of splitting the cost of housing. If they could afford it, they would probably choose to live alone."
Marriage also plays a large part in the number of single-person households. Today people get married at an older age. Divorce also contributes to the amount of people living alone.
The metro area with the lowest percentage of single-person households also features a UT. Provo, Utah (UT), has only 12.7 percent of its households occupied by a single person.
If one truly is the loneliest number, Burch said it will continue to have plenty of company in Knoxville's housing market.
"Most of the new developments have a larger percentage of one bedroom units. If you have an option to live by yourself or live with someone else, a lot of people think it is more desirable to live by yourself," said Burch.
Some real estate agents reiterated their experience with buying, selling, and renting homes occupied by one person. Frequent occupants mentioned to 10News are recent medical school graduates from across the state who move to Knoxville and live alone while completing residency programs at one of the many hospitals in the area.