Throwing dinner parties may be a fading trend. People are socializing less with their family and friends at home, and spending more time alone.
“As a result of social and demographic changes, the private dwelling is less of a context for social company,” says Glenn Stalker, a PhD student in sociology and the author of a study presented at the International Housing Conference in Toronto in June. “This is largely due to changes in the structure of the family, higher rates of separation and divorce, smaller households with fewer children, delayed marriages and more individuals living alone.”
Stalker, under the supervision of sociology professor William Michelson, examined Canadian General Social Survey data from 1986, 1992 and 1998. He analysed where Canadians spent their leisure time and with whom. He found that in 1998, Canadians spent 34 per cent of their spare time alone at home, an increase of five per cent from 1986. As well, time with friends and family at home dropped from 63 to 58 per cent of their leisure time in the same period. Although people are spending slightly more time with friends and family in places such as cafés and restaurants, this growth has not kept pace with the decline in social contact at home.