Loneliness, Part 1: statistics

Filed in Relationships by on January 14, 2014 1 Comment

4th Plinth photo by SWang CCommons

Two posts about loneliness. The first, the results of a ‘Loneliness Research’ project from the Campaign to End Loneliness.

There is a growing evidence base around the complex challenge of loneliness, and the Campaign to End Loneliness bases all of our campaigning and resources on this evidence, by drawing on a Research Hub; an international network of university academics, other researchers and practitioners working to increase and develop the evidence base on the issue of loneliness in older age.

Here, we summarise some of the most important research for those working in policy and practice to tackle loneliness.

Loneliness and social isolation in the United Kingdom

  •  Between 6% and 13% of people aged over 65 say they feel always or very lonely (Victor, 2011)
  • 17% of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week and 11% are in contact less than once a month (Victor et al, 2003)
  • Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone (ONS, 2010)
  • Half of all older people (about 5 million) say the television is their main company
  • 63% of adults aged 52 or over who have been widowed, and 51% of the same group who are separated or divorced report, feeling lonely some of the time or often (Beaumont, 2013)
  • 59% of adults aged over 52 who report poor health say they feel lonely some of the time or often, compared to 21% who say they are in excellent health (Beaumont, 2013)
  • A higher percentage of women than men report feeling lonely some of the time or often  (Beaumont, 2013)

The impact of loneliness on our health

Loneliness is a bigger problem than simply an emotional experience.  Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: lacking social connections is a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity.

For further information about the impact loneliness can have on our health, click here

The site also has a Resources and Reading section, which is coped here:

We summarise the latest research in this area in a quarterly Research Bulletin, which is sent exclusively to organisations and individuals who have signed up as supporters. Archived editions of the Bulletin can be found here.

The Research Bulletin is produced with the support of the Campaign to End Loneliness Research Hub

Publications that summarise the evidence base on loneliness include:

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These unsigned articles are prepared by different members of the Jericho Tree team

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  1. The curse of loneliness | Mark Q. Bratton | February 7, 2014

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