It is the first time the number of single-person homes has overtaken other types of households north of the Border.
The statistics reveal that 35% of homes are lived in by one person, mirroring the changing attitudes and personal circumstances of Scots over the past 50 years. In 1961, single-person households accounted for just 14% of the total.
The census shows households occupied by three or more people have halved to one-third in the decade leading up to 2011.
Marriage breakdown, bereavement, the longevity of women and female financial independence have forged a new social trend, according to experts who claim solo living will be even more prominent in the future.
Professor Robert Wright, an economist at Strathclyde Business School, said the rising trend of one-person households was usual in high-income countries.
He added: "The opportunities for people to live with family has decreased. There has been a big increase in childlessness and a big increase in the mobility of family members. Children are leaving home earlier and then you have the increase in divorce and the reduction of marriage.
"All these trends are moving in a direction to create a rise in one-person households and that is a trend that is here to stay."
He said a large majority of one-person households would be inhabited by widows, given differences in life expectancy between the sexes.
But Mr Wright claimed new types of relationships would also drive changes – with the typical model of mother and father at home with children becoming less prevalent.
He said: "It is linked to age. Men don't live as long as women, so if you look at the age structure you will find the single-person household is dominated by older women.
"I think people tend to look at single-person households as something that is negative.
"But you have new types of relationships, and substitutes of relationships, and they are driven by choice.
"One I speak of is the LAT, which is 'living apart but together'. You are basically in a committed relationship but you live in different households. It is not like you are lonely."
Mr Wright said you could have a situation where a mother and father no longer live in the same house, but stay in contact and have their children nearby.
"To say those who live alone are lonely is an exaggeration," Mr Wright said.
While living alone may have become a popular trend, there are wide regional variations in those who go their own way.
Glasgow has the highest concentration of single-person households – 43% – while in Dundee it is 40%. Aberdeenshire has the lowest level of single-person households at 27%.
Since 2001 the total number of households in Scotland has increased from 2,192,250 to 2,372,780. The average household size on census day was 2.19 people per household and ranged from 2.02 in Glasgow to 2.42 in East Renfrewshire.
In 2011, 17% of the population was aged 65 and over, while 16% was aged under 15.
Tim Ellis, chief executive of National Records of Scotland, said: "For the first time ever, single-person households are the most common household type, accounting for more than a third of all households in Scotland.
"The results also show that while the overall population is growing and getting older, there is considerable variation in the picture across Scotland. Some areas have seen small increases in overall numbers but significant changes in their population age structure, whilst other areas have seen larger overall increases but less pronounced ageing of the population."
Orly Koppel, 48, is living on her own for the first time in more than 20 years and is loving her new found freedom and personal space.
Ms Koppel moved into her new flat last October following the end of her marriage and said the major transition in her domestic set-up was remarkably easy.
She said: "My daughter is at university and I have a partner who doesn't live in in Glasgow but who visits every two weeks or so and I am very happy with my living arrangements.
"We both have our own space and when we do get together it is so nice. We don't have the daily grind to worry about and we don't have shared finances, arguments about children or who is taking the rubbish out. It suits me very well."
Ms Koppel, a counsellor and psychotherapist based in Glasgow, said: "I was married for 24 years and I found the adjustment to living alone very easy, probably because I had longed for it for so long. The whole process of moving on took so long that I was just so happy to have my own space in the end.
"I am very fortunate that I have a job that I really enjoy and takes up a lot of my time. I see my friends and family and the weekend and I genuinely feel that in the evenings I never get lonely. It's bliss to come home, crash out and watch television. I don't feel like I need anyone to speak to. I can't imagine living any other way now."
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