By Jim Droz

Manhattan is still No. 1 when it comes to single living in the U.S., but New York’s most captivating borough slipped a bit during the past decade, according to an Associated Press analysis of 2010 census data.

Escalating rents during the past 10 years were cited as part of the reason why Manhattan’s single household percentage dipped from 48 in 2000 to 46.3 percent in 2010. Nationwide, however, the single-living rate has reached an all-time high at almost 27 percent of households.

The biggest growth in solo dwelling has been in small communities such as Chattahootchee County, Ga., near Fort Benning, and Park County, Colo., a result of other parts of the nation catching up with what had been a big-city trait. Nationally, women are more likely than men to live alone. A major reason is that older women tend to outlive their male mates, and older men tend to marry younger women.

North Dakota had the highest percentage of solo living of any state — 31.5 percent. It also had the highest percentage a decade earlier at 29.3. Utah had the nation’s lowest rate of solo living at 18.7 percent, a result of the dominance of Mormon culture that emphasizes marrying early and having children.

The biggest decline among states in the past decade was in California, particularly in the Inland Empire counties — likely the result of higher rents and California’s growing population of Hispanics and Asians, experts said.

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