Increasing single households challenges household decarbonization in japan

Liqiao Huang, Yin Long*, Zhiheng Chen, Yuan Li, Jiamin Ou, Yosuke Shigetomi, Yoshikuni Yoshida

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In light of societal shifts such as an aging population, delayed marriages, and higher rates of divorce, there's a notable rise in solitary living, affecting society, the economy, and the environment. To understand the implications of these demographic shifts, our research examines the nexus between solo living and its broader social-environmental consequences. Using Japan, one of the countries with the highest proportion of the elderly, as a reference, we explore the temporal fluctuations, gender-specific variances, and long-term trends in carbon footprints influenced by alterations in consumption behaviors. Results indicate that housing energy and food consumption remain the dominant carbon footprint contributors across all demographic sectors. Interestingly, single households present higher carbon footprints than non-single households, with those of single females surpassing their male counterparts due to increased household energy use and expenditures on clothing and healthcare. Following the demographic shifts, single households are expected to account for approximately 31.1% of Japan's emissions from households by 2040, challenging national decarbonization efforts due to their higher per capita emissions. This highlights the imperative for bespoke strategies, especially in resource allocation and sharing, to address the solo living challenge and ensure congruence with Japan's sustainability and decarbonization goals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102848
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024


  • Aging Society
  • Carbon footprint
  • Japan
  • Lifestyle disparity
  • Single household


Dive into the research topics of 'Increasing single households challenges household decarbonization in japan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this