Tension 2

Togetherness vs. privacy

Home is where we welcome people in, but also where we escape. It’s a sanctuary that sits in the heart of our community. However, the joy and warmth of togetherness can put a strain on privacy and personal space.

An open door or do not disturb?

In a world rapidly growing in population, our ability to balance togetherness and privacy is put to the test. The boundaries of home are changing. Until 2009 the majority of people lived in rural areas. Today, around 55% of the world’s population lives in towns and cities1. More people are dealing with reduced space and finding innovative solutions to get the most out of where they live.

There is also a changing portrait of who is living inside homes. For example, the number of people living in multigenerational households in the US has quadrupled since 1971, reaching 59.7 million in March 2021. This figure is equivalent to 18% of the US population2.

Even when we find privacy, the ever-present nature of technology means that it can be hard to switch off and disconnect.

As people increasingly move to cities and live in smaller spaces with more people, addressing the tension of togetherness and privacy becomes more central to enjoying a better life at home.

We love being alone, but also together

How many of us spend time alone to nurture wellbeing?


How many of us get a wellbeing boost from quality time with partners and kids?


Being together

Needs being met

  • Belonging
  • Enjoyment
  • Security

Top countries that say a hug from loved ones is one of the things that brings the most joy





Chile and Serbia


Denmark, Portugal and Spain


The importance of togetherness

Togetherness is important for wellbeing. It’s good for us because it supports security and belonging by being surrounded by people we care about and are connected to. 35% of us feel that hugs from a loved one are an enjoyable and fulfilling aspect of home. 33% of us feel that laughing with friends is one of the best things about being together.

Privacy helps to create a sense of control. The more people we live with—or the less we know those we live with—the harder it is to find this sense of privacy.

Top 3 countries where people say home provides enough privacy for everyone living there

New Zealand






Having privacy

Needs being met

  • Comfort
  • Control
  • Enjoyment

Safe from the world

The concept of home security has been evolving. Rather than solely relying on physical security like locks, bars and gates, it is increasingly tied to interpersonal relationships. Emotional wellbeing creates a sense of security in a similar way as a locked door.

  • 31% of us feel that the people we live with make us feel secure
  • 22% of us say that having someone next to us makes us sleep especially well
  • 17% of us feel that physical security like strong locks and bars on windows makes us most secure

Bottom 3 countries that say home provides enough privacy for everyone living in it







Community belonging

Belonging is not limited to the people within our households. It extends beyond the walls to neighbours and the community at large. In fact, 21% of us find a sense of belonging from shared values with others in our community. Only 11% of us feel that belonging results from being similar in age.

In 2023, 25% of people living alone get a sense of belonging from chatting with a neighbour. That figure drops for people in larger households. Being able to ask a neighbour for help is important for:

  • 30% of people living in rural areas
  • 22% of people living in cities

Some things are better left private

From walking around naked to just sitting quietly with our thoughts, privacy is a crucial part of life many of us struggle to have. In 2023, the disparity between the amount of privacy we want to have and the amount we have is growing. Only 45% of us feel home provides enough privacy for everyone in the house.

  • 30% of us sing or dance when no one is around
  • 23% of us walk around naked at home
  • 33% of us say the right amount of privacy is one of the most important things for feeling content and at ease at home

Haunted house?

4% of us believe our homes might be haunted (due to creaky floorboards or strange happenings)!


Finding a balance between togetherness and privacy is rarely easy. Because home is where we feel emotionally secure and protected from the world, one side of the coin should not be sacrificed for the other. In an increasingly crowded world, togetherness strengthens the vital bonds of belonging. Creating the right mix requires understanding the needs while setting boundaries.

1. United Nations: un.org/en/un75/shifting-demographics 44
2. Pew Research, 2022

Tension 3

Living well vs. living within our means