Half Of Americans Retreat To Their Cars To Find Alone Time, And Other Proof Life In 2018 Is Bleak


Homes are “getting smaller, smarter, busier, and noisier”, write the researchers. Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock

Really quick, look around your office. Chances are, half of all people in that room have, at one point or another, snuck out of the workplace to steal a few silent moments alone in the privacy of a car or bathroom.

Those are the findings of the 2018 Life at Home Report commissioned by home furnishing giant IKEA. The three-month survey spoke to more than 22,000 people in 22 markets, including the US, Europe, Middle East, and Asia, to quantify international feelings about how life is changing at home. The findings are a bit bleak, to say the least.


Study contributor Alison Blunt said to feel at home, a person needs to have five core emotional needs met: comfort, security, ownership, privacy, and belonging. However, a majority of people around the world say they don’t feel “at home” in their residence and seek a way to fulfill those needs elsewhere.

One-third of people from around the world say there are places where they feel more at home than their residence, up just one-fifth of those surveyed two years ago. A quarter of respondents living with family or alone said they felt their privacy, security, and comfort needs were not being met, compared to more than half of those living with friends or strangers. Globally, 23 percent of people say they need to leave the house to find alone time. For those living with strangers or friends, that number goes up to 33 percent.

More than half of young families say they don’t feel a sense of belonging in their residential homes, while one in three people report lacking a sense of security. Almost a quarter of those who live with strangers say they don’t have a sense of ownership over their home and feel more comfortable outside of it.

Interestingly, 21 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 report belonging the most in "virtual" communities. 13_Phunkod/Shutterstock

The authors note these feelings are “exacerbated by major shifts in how people live today”, which is influenced by global changes in demographics, climate, and technology use compounded by the “exponential rise in urban living.”


Life at home is changing around the world, the authors note. Physical homes are “getting smaller, smarter, busier, and noisier” and life is "on the move". Sixty-four percent of respondents say they would rather live in a small home with an ideal location than in a big home in a less ideal location. More people work from home than ever before, and one-third bathe outside the home multiple times a week. Further evidence of this shift is found in the fact that nearly a quarter of those living with strangers are using Airbnb to make an additional income.

But what makes a home feel like home? Nearly half of those who feel happy in their home believe their community is an extension of their home and seek experiences outside of the house that will help them “grow as a person”.

“For some people, ‘my home begins at the front door.’ For other people, ‘my sense of home begins when I am within this area, around the estate within which I live.’ It’s that sense of wider, more expansive notion of home,” said Blunt in a statement.


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  • half of americans go to the bathroom or car to find alone time,

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