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GÜLSE BİRSEL >Where do households go in Turkey?

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The Turkish household is going through a change, as young members demand separate homes. According to Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) data for 2016, the average size of the Turkish household has gone down to 3.5. The point five is not a baby. This figure means that families are no longer with grandmothers and grandfathers. 

Another aspect is that the number of children has gone down. Also, children who are above a certain age, let’s say over 20 to 25, move out when they find a job and get their own homes. Newlyweds rarely stay with the family. 

I think the household insurrection is provoked by contractors and white goods producers/sellers. My theory is that with small apartments and peanut-colored refrigerators, they are luring young people. 

On the other hand, not every trend is long-lived; we have our own traditions. For instance, the studio flats that were built like crazy five or 10 years ago are now off the table because of low demand. 

Even if it is just one person living in the apartment, we cannot possibly entertain guests in the same place we sleep and change our clothes. Come on, what is that? 

Are you going to eat mantı with your aunt and cousin just two meters away from the bed? No, that can’t happen. 

As a matter of fact, let alone a studio flat, we should have a separate “guest area” where we would never ever use. We are from families where the big “salon” of the apartment is not used for months, but we all lived in 10-square-meter “everyday” living rooms, as if we were going to have musical parties where waiters would serve us. 

For this reason, even in the smallest of apartments, with the lowest of budgets in two-member families, we need two rooms. 

It was easy for contractors to adapt. They put a wall in the middle of the studio flat and the problem was solved. 

Another reason for studio flats falling out of popularity is that we do not live alone. We like chatting. Living alone, going to a restaurant alone, going to the movies all by your own self and sitting at home to read a book are all adverse for us. Are we in New York? 

According to statistics, the percentage of one-person households in Turkey is 15 percent. But I bet these lonely people are never lonely because they talk on the phone or communicate online with friends or family for all the lonely hours they spend in a day.  

I lived alone for one year only – of course in New York, the city of lonely people – when I was going to school; naturally, it was in a studio flat. I never had such a time when I went out so much, socialized so much and went to places so much. The next year I had one of my close friends as a roommate, then I was home more. 

The next year, I was back home in Istanbul as a free-spirited, big girl who was 25 years old. I found a job and told my father, “I’m going to move out.” My father answered me, “That’s what you think.” But Gülse did move out – about three year later… By way of marriage… 

Yes, living alone, living with family and moving out are fun topics, that’s for sure. 

But in the same TÜİK data, there is also this fact: 23 percent of married people are married to their relatives. 
Also, 22 percent of individuals live below the poverty line. I was double-checking the figures when I finished writing. I read the statistics from end to end. 

The last two statistics above ended all the fun. Pardon me.

May/20/2017

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