CHICAGO — The closer you live to the lake and Downtown, the more likely you are to live alone.
Throughout Chicago, 76 percent of residents live with some family member based on recent Census estimates. That number is even higher in most neighborhoods on the Northwest, South and West sides. Nearly 94 percent of Gage Parkers live with family, for example.
There were actually 8,000 fewer people living alone in Chicago in 2014 compared with 2009, but there were big gains in Downtown, which drew a mix of young and wealthy residents. But in other neighborhoods, the number of people living alone isn't as high.
About 38 percent of residents on the Near North Side — which covers River North, Streeterville and Gold Coast — live by themselves, a higher proportion than any of the other 77 community areas.
"People have shifted away from roommates and toward smaller units by themselves Downtown," said Aaron Galvin, owner of Luxury Living Chicago, which in the last year has placed 300 people in apartments of their own largely in the Downtown area.
The other community areas where more than a quarter of residents live by themselves are the Loop, Near South Side (South Loop), Uptown, Edgewater, Lakeview, Douglas and Kenwood. About 54 percent of people living alone are women.
But there might be more people citywide who want to live by themselves who don't, real estate professionals suggest. That's true even in Lakeview, the community area that leads the city with 29 percent of residents living with roommates that aren't family members.
"We see a lot of people who come in, initially wanting to live on their own. It's not cheap, there's no doubt about that. A studio in Lakeview is going for $1,000 a month," said Maurice Ortiz, director of operations of Apartment People.
Mark Durakovic, vice president of Kass Management, which manages about 9,000 residential units in the Chicago area, said he's noticed a trend throughout Chicago of younger people wanting to live by themselves, especially in Gold Coast, Lincoln Park and Logan Square.
"We are seeing demand for one-bedroom and studios," he said.
Developers have followed suit as newer developments on the Near North Side, like 805 N. La Salle, almost exclusively cater to people who want to live alone. "Micro-apartments" are also coming to neighborhoods like Logan Square and may even be part of plans for the Old Main Post Office in Downtown.
"Millennials have a different idea of what they expect," Durakovic said. "Having smaller space isn't the goal. The goal is having a private space."
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