Created By: akanesarumara on March 22, 2013 Last Edited By: MacronNotes on December 2, 2013
Troped

Minor Living Alone

A child living all alone in a house or apartment.

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Schoolday's over. Students prepare to leave... But not all of them go to meet friends, hang out with friends/a Love Interest or to a family. For various reasons, some live alone, younger than you'd expect. The most common cause for this trope is that their parents are dead or absent. Children that live alone are sometimes rather mature for their age and may even have a job in order to support themselves. If they live with younger siblings, expect them to take on the role of Parental Substitute.

Related to Parental Abandonment. See also Emancipated Child, where the child divorces their parents and goes to live on their own, Department of Child Disservices where child protection services being crappy in general, including this trope as well as placing kids with bad foster families, and Social Services Does Not Exist which is about kids not being taken away from bad families.

Examples

Anime & Manga
  • Orihime from Bleach lives alone. She and her older brother ran away from Abusive Parents and he died in a car accident. Word of God is that she receives money from relatives although she gets a job after the Time Skip.
  • Haruka from Free! lives alone in his late grandmother's house, although his best friend Makoto does live right down the street. Haruka's parents moved away for work, and his grandmother died sometime later.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Although she has friends and family she could stay with if she wasn't too polite to ask, Tohru decides to try to live on her own after she's orphaned. In a tent. Fortunately, the Sohmas are persistent enough to get her to stay with them...although one could just as easily question the logic of moving in with three guys she barely knows.
    • Around the time she's starting high school, Machi is kicked out of the house after a kind gesture is misconstrued as attempted murder.
    • Momiji was forced to leave his parents when he was about eight, and by the time the series begins, he has a house of his own on the Sohma estate. There would have been plenty of servants around, and Hatori seems to look after him when he has the time, but he's very independent by the time he enters high school.
  • In Kamisama ga Uso wo Tsuku, Rio, not yet in junior high, lives alone with her little brother. Their mother is deceased and their father is always on long trips for his work (or so she claims).
  • 10-year-old orphan Hayate Yagami lives alone in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, supported mainly by allowance sent by a distant relative. A justification is implied by the end of the season, though: said relative is actually The Man Behind the Man who pulled strings to make sure nobody missed Hayate after her planned death.
  • Midori no Hibi: Seiji lives alone, since his parents are said to be traveling abroad and his older sister, Rin, lives with her boyfriend. She drops by, every other month or so, to give him enough funds to cover food and expenses.
  • In Naruto:
    • The title character has lived alone his entire life. His only supervision comes from his academy instructor, Iruka (who doesn't go to his home) and the village chief, who stops by drop off money for the month's expenses.
    • After the slaughter of his entire clan, the deuteragonst Sasuke lives alone as well.
  • Justified in Onegai Twins, Mike was allowed to live alone thanks to a deal he made with his orphanage, which let's him work and live alone.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Mami had parents died in an accident. As it turned out, she also had no relatives, and thus had no choice but to live on her own.
    • Homura, whose family is either nonexistent or estranged. However, her reasons for living alone also stem from the fact that she came to the conclusion that she can only work by herself after countless failed time loops.
    • Kyouko lives in her apartment complex alone with no parental supervision due to her father murdering her mother, younger sister, and then himself in a murder-suicide.
  • Ukyo Kuonji of Ranma not only lives by herself, she runs her own business, all while still being in high school.
  • Makoto Kino from Sailor Moon lives alone because her parents are dead.
  • Rei Kuroki from Vividred Operation lives alone with her pet parakeet in her apartment complex because her parents died from an accident.

Comic Books
  • Runaways is about well, Runaways, the youngest being eleven at the start of the series and the oldest starting at seventeen, that have superpowers and live alone after running away from their super villain parents and then again from child protective services that wanted to keep them apart (and put their dinosaur in storage...It Makes Sense in Context).

Film
  • In Angel 15-year-old Angel lives alone and is a schoolgirl by day, hooker by night.
  • In The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane the eponymous Little Girl is living alone in a big house after her terminally ill father committed suicide and she killed her estranged/abusive mother who had come to take her back.
  • In the novel and Film of the Book Hugo, the titular 12 year old character is living alone in a train station after he was orphaned and his uncle abandoned him.

Literature
  • This is the state of affairs for the eponymous character in the second Jack Blank book, and he's only thirteen years old. However, Jack lives in the Imagine Nation, which is a fictional country that functions as a safe haven for superhero fantasy, so the laws may be different there. Even so, 13 is still quite young for someone to be living alone.

Video Games
  • In The Sims:
    • In original Sims if a parent died a child would live alone...but couldn't pay bills, cook meals, or do anything for themselves.
    • Almost Averted in The Sims 2 where the social worker would pick up orphaned kids. Orphaned teens however, could live alone and could at least pay bills and cook, unlike kids.
    • The Sims 3 continues the " orphaned teenager can live alone" trend. However now teens can get part time employment so it's much easier for them to have a steady cash flow. They can also register as self employed with the Ambitions expansion pack, almost eliminating the need for parents.
Webcomics
  • Homestuck: Roxy and Dirk (age 16) each live alone, due to being the last two humans alive.

Western Animation
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: For the first three seasons, The Chipettes lived in a fully furnished tree house, with a living room, a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, however, in the Season Four opener, school officials find out about this, and threaten to split them up and put them in foster care; Dave temporarily adopts them, however they and The Chipmunks start getting on each other's nerves, so Alvin talks Miss Miller into adopting them.in one episode.
  • Hey Arnold!: Played with: Gerald is fed up with his family not giving him enough space, and moves into an empty room in Arnold's home, which doubles as a boarding house to live by himself. He only wanted attention for leaving though, but his parents and Arnold's Grandpa agree to let him stay until he decides to come back on his own. He moves back by the end of the episode.
  • Recess: Played with in "Bachelor Gus", in which Gus overhears what he thinks is his parents talking about moving away (again), and not wanting to move again, let alone leave his friends at Third Street School, he runs away, and turns the jungle gym into his own bachelor pad. He likes it at first, but is scared by nightfall, and when his parents find him, he learns that they were talking about moving him into the bigger bedroom, not moving away altogether.
  • All of the Teen Titans live without parental supervision in their island headquarters and they fight crime. It makes you wonder if maybe their city lacks a child services department.
Community Feedback Replies: 56
  • March 22, 2013
    thewriter
    • All of the Teen Titans live without parental supervision in their island headquarters and they fight crime. It makes you wonder if maybe their city lacks a child services department.
  • March 22, 2013
    Koveras
  • March 22, 2013
    Antigone3
    Truth In Television for emancipated minors.
  • March 22, 2013
    Bisected8
    • Orihime from Bleach lives alone. She and her older brother ran away from Abusive Parents and he died in a car accident. Word Of God is that she recieves money from relatives although she gets a job after the Time Skip.
  • March 22, 2013
    MrRuano
    • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has two cases. Mami had parents died in an accident. As it turned out, she also had no relatives, and thus had no choice but to live on her own. The second case is Homura, whose family is either nonexistent of estranged. However, her reasons for living alone also stem from the fact that she came to the conclusion that she can only work by herself after countless failed time loops.
  • March 22, 2013
    Rainbow
    Makoto Kino from Sailor Moon lives alone because her parents are dead.
  • March 22, 2013
    MokonaZero
    Justified in Onegai Twins, Mike was allowed to live alone thanks to a deal he made with his orphanage, which let's him work and live alone.
  • March 22, 2013
    willthiswork
    Homestuck: Roxy and Dirk (age 16) each live alone, due to being the last two humans alive.
  • March 22, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In Angel 15-year-old Angel lives alone and is a schoolgirl by day, hooker by night.
  • March 22, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Does this trope necessarily need to apply to high school-aged characters as the laconic description states? There's The Simpsons episode "Barting Over" where Bart gets himself legally emancipated after suffering too much of Homer's mistreatment.
  • April 22, 2013
    Noah1
  • April 22, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    EDIT: Never mind.
  • April 22, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    This is the state of affairs for the eponymous character in the second Jack Blank book, and he's only thirteen years old. However, Jack lives in the Imagine Nation, which is a fictional country that functions as a safe haven for superhero fantasy, so the laws may be different there. Even so, 13 is still quite young for someone to be living alone.
  • June 23, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    We have a trope called the Emancipated Child. I believe this trope would be fairly redundant, or have significant overlap.
  • June 23, 2013
    MacronNotes
    ^ I think they're related but clearly not the same thing. Emancipated Child is when a child divorces their parents and goes to live on their own. This trope is broader than that.
  • June 23, 2013
    KingZeal
    • In Naruto:
      • The title character has lived alone his entire life. His only supervision comes from his academy instructor, Iruka (who doesn't go to his home) and the village chief, who stops by drop off money for the month's expenses.
      • After the slaughter of his entire clan, the deuteragonst Sasuke lives alone as well.
  • June 23, 2013
    xanderiskander
    Western Animation
    • Hey Arnold: Played with in one episode. Gerald is fed up with his family not giving him enough space, and moves into an empty room in Arnold's home, which doubles as a boarding house to live by himself. He only wanted attention for leaving though, but his parents and Arnold's Grandpa agree to let him stay until he decides to come back on his own. He moves back by the end of the episode.
  • June 23, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Would Marona from Phantom Brave count? She is a child and the only living person on Phantom Isle. (not the only person in general. She does live with a phantom named Ash And she has an ability to help the phantoms take a corporeal but temporary form) She might be a subversion at least.
  • June 23, 2013
    kjnoren
    Literature:

    • Pippi Longstocking lives alone with a horse and a monkey. Her father is king of a southern island, and her mother is in heaven.
  • June 24, 2013
    Lyendith
    Anime And Manga:
    • In Kamisama ga Uso wo Tsuku, Rio, not yet in junior high, lives alone with her little brother. Their mother is deceased and their father is always on long trips for his work (or so she claims).
  • June 24, 2013
    Nazetrime
    You may want to mention Rules Of Orphan Economics at some point.
  • June 24, 2013
    KingZeal
    Possible page image here: Just imagine the three right-most panels from the second row to the bottom row.
  • June 24, 2013
    StevenT
    In Big, after going through an Overnight Age Up, Josh has to run away and move into an apartment. He's still mentally a child, so it takes him a while to get used to it.
  • June 24, 2013
    lakingsif
    Hyde in That70s Show after his mother abandons him and before he moves in with the Formans.
  • June 24, 2013
    xaade
    Um. The trope namer is Home Alone IMO.
  • June 24, 2013
    CaptainPeregrin
    • Fruits Basket:
      • Although she has friends and family she could stay with if she wasn't too polite to ask, Tohru decides to try to live on her own after she's orphaned. In a tent. Fortunately, the Sohmas are persistent enough to get her to stay with them...although one could just as easily question the logic of moving in with three guys she barely knows.
      • Around the time she's starting high school, Machi is kicked out of the house after a kind gesture is misconstrued as attempted murder.
      • Momiji was forced to leave his parents when he was about eight, and by the time the series begins, he has a house of his own on the Sohma estate. There would have been plenty of servants around, and Hatori seems to look after him when he has the time, but he's very independent by the time he enters high school.
  • June 24, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    ^^ A Trope Namer means that the work in question coined the name of the trope. Do any of the Home Alone movies actually use the phrase "minor living alone"? I assume the trope is meant to cover when being alone is the normal living situation, in which case the films are a downplayed example at best because the kid gets left by himself for a few days through some oversight by the rest of the family.
  • June 24, 2013
    BOFH
    Fan Works
  • June 24, 2013
    Tallens
    • Ukyo Kuonji of Ranma One Half not only lives by herself, she runs her own business, all while still being in high school.
  • June 25, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane the eponymous Little Girl is living alone in a big house after her terminally ill father committed suicide and she killed her estranged/abusive mother who had come to take her back.
  • June 25, 2013
    DaibhidC
    • Billy Batson in some versions of Shazam. In Jerry Ordway's version, he has his Older Alter Ego pose as his guardian when required.
  • June 25, 2013
    TonyG
    The main character of The Little Prince, who has a Baby Planet all to himself.
  • July 15, 2013
    mightymewtron
  • July 15, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    Runaways is about well, Runaways, the youngest being eleven at the start of the series and the oldest starting at seventeen, that have superpowers and live alone after running away from their super villain parents and then again from child protective services that wanted to keep them apart (and put their dinosaur in storage...It Makes Sense In Context).
  • July 15, 2013
    Goldfritha
  • July 15, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    In The Sims:
    • In original Sims if a parent died a child would live alone...but couldn't pay bills, cook meals, or do anything for themselves.
    • Almost Averted in The Sims 2 where the social worker would pick up orphaned kids. Orphaned teens however, could live alone and could at least pay bills and cook, unlike kids.
    • The Sims 3 continues the " orphaned teenager can live alone" trend. However now teens can get part time employment so it's much easier for them to have a steady cash flow. They can also register as self employed with the Ambitions expansion pack, almost eliminating the need for parents.
  • July 15, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    Also this runs really close to some other tropes but isn't *quite* them: Department Of Child Disservices is about child protection services being crappy in general, including this trope as well as placing kids with bad foster families,and Social Services Does Not Exist seems to be about kids not being taken away from bad families. You might want to go into how they're related and maybe do some mining for examples.
  • July 15, 2013
    DAN004
    Does Home Alone count?
  • July 15, 2013
    Tallens
    I don't think it quite fits. He's still in his parents' house, he just happens to be by himself.
  • August 17, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    This is the case of The Perishers, with the child cast all seemingly living and interacting with the world all on their own.
  • November 4, 2013
    kapusta17
    Haruka from Free lives alone in his late grandmother's house, although his best friend Makoto does live right down the street. Haruka's parents moved away for work, and his grandmother died sometime later.
  • November 4, 2013
    arromdee
    Related to Free Range Children.
  • November 4, 2013
    Palhinuk
    I'm kind of surprised no one's mentioned this until now:

    • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, constantly injured EVA Unit 0 pilot Rei Ayanami lives all by herself in a run-down apartment with very little furniture.
  • November 4, 2013
    SharleeD
    • When the Doctor first meets Amy Pond, she's apparently living in a house all alone. It's later revealed that her parents had lived there, but were erased from existence and human memory by one of the cracks in the universe.
  • November 4, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    ^ She's living with her Aunt Sharon. Admitedly Aunt Sharon has left her young niece alone for the entire evening, but she does exist and has not fallen down the time hole.
  • November 4, 2013
    garfield2710
    • In the novel and Film Of The Book Hugo, the titular 12 year old character is living alone in a train station after he was orphaned and his uncle abandoned him.
  • November 6, 2013
    Pichu-kun
    • At the time of Fruits Basket beginning, sixteen year old Tohru had been living alone in a tent after her mother's death. She's quickly found out and invited to live with a few of the other main characters.
    • Fourteen year old Makoto from Sailor Moon has been living alone since age ten.
    • Chitose from Happy Lesson lives alone.

    I saw a thread on a forum that said Kaname from Full Metal Panic, Rin and Kaede from Shuffle, Shinobu from Love Hina, and several characters from Tenjho Tenge live alone but I don't know from watching the series.
  • November 10, 2013
    Illa
    Do I understand right that this trope is not only about one "child living all alone", but also about children living together without an adult?

    Parental Substitute says that "If it's an older sibling who's taken over the parental role, that's Promotion To Parent." Promotion To Parent says that it is Truth In Television.

    Does "A child living all alone in a house or apartment" mean the Street Urchin isn't an example of this trope? What about children on desert islands? (Or the children in The Boxcar Children or Maximum Ride, which I haven't read?)

    The next example isn't about real apartments, either (I think the book's website used to say that subsidized dorms, "extremely safe and well policed for people of all ages and sizes", have private rooms with bathrooms), or about conventional children:
    • In Claxton Dong's novel Save Our Star, "Things are different in the future — kids work and get paid for going to school and get to make their own choices about things. Like where to live", and the narrator says "I know lots of kids who moved into dorms by the time they were ten and have hardly seen their parents since. Well, I know a few kids like that."

    In the discussion page for Rules Of Orphan Economics, kairu says that orphans living alone "seems to happen in anime a lot", and I might have heard the same thing about children living alone in a discussion of Spiral. Rules Of Orphan Economics mentions Bu-Ling and her siblings from Tokyo Mew Mew, and could the title character of Binchou Tan and Kyou and Asu in Binbou Shimai Monogatari also be examples? (I'm not too familiar with these works.)
  • November 10, 2013
    MiinU

    Anime and Manga

    • Midori no Hibi: Seiji lives alone, since his parents are said to be traveling abroad and his older sister, Rin, lives with her boyfriend. She drops by, every other month or so, to give him enough funds to cover food and expenses.
  • November 11, 2013
    DAN004
    Launch?
  • November 11, 2013
    CrypticMirror
  • November 11, 2013
    SKJAM
    • British comic character Ali Change ("He's his own Granny!") lives alone, but uses his Master Of Disguise skills to impersonate the grandmother who's supposed to be taking care of him.
  • November 11, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Another Simpsons
    • At the end of "We're on the Road to D'ohwhere" Lisa comes home from school to discover two messages on the answering machine: one from Homer saying he lost Bart & is in jail for fighting with a casino pit boss, and one from Marge saying she's in jail for selling prescription pills.
      Lisa: Well Maggie, I always knew it would someday boil down to just you and me; I'll look for work in the morning.
  • November 17, 2013
    Pichu-kun
    • This is a plot point in Kami-sama ga Uso o Tsuku. Eleven year old elementary schooler Rio lives alone with her little brother. They were abandoned by their father, who told them he was gonna go fishing in Alaska. They were left with their grandfather but he died. Rio buried him in their backyard, saying they'd have a funeral when their father came back..
  • November 17, 2013
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Western Animation
    • Alvin And The Chipmunks: For the first three seasons, The Chipettes lived in a fully furnished tree house, with a living room, a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, however, in the Season Four opener, school officials find out about this, and threaten to split them up and put them in foster care; Dave temporarily adopts them, however they and The Chipmunks start getting on each other's nerves, so Alvin talks Miss Miller into adopting them.
    • Recess: Played with in "Bachelor Gus", in which Gus overhears what he thinks is his parents talking about moving away (again), and not wanting to move again, let alone leave his friends at Third Street School, he runs away, and turns the jungle gym into his own bachelor pad. He likes it at first, but is scared by nightfall, and when his parents find him, he learns that they were talking about moving him into the bigger bedroom, not moving away altogether.
  • November 17, 2013
    DAN004
    Launch?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=b6fqqicjzed5zgx6igty1zec