New worldwide study highlights extent of loneliness

If you are feeling lonely, you are not alone. A recent worldwide survey by Meta-Gallup has revealed that almost 1 in 4 adults, (24% of people aged 15 and above) worldwide experienced loneliness to some extent.

The survey covered 142 countries and asked individuals how lonely they felt. Interestingly, young adults between 19 and 29 years old experienced the highest levels of loneliness, with 27% reporting feeling very or fairly lonely. On the other hand, only 17% of individuals aged 65 and above felt lonely.

What’s reassuring is that more than half of adults aged 45 and above felt no loneliness at all. However, among those younger than 45, a significant number admitted feeling at least a bit lonely, if not fairly or very lonely.

These figures confirms surveys taken in the UK which show that loneliness is not just a problem for older people; it can affect anyone, regardless of age.

The study also found that while there was little difference in loneliness between men and women globally. However, some countries showed significant disparities, which are possibly based on their cultural context. In total, 79 out of 142 countries had a higher self-reported rate of loneliness in women compared to men.

The survey, conducted from June 2022 to February 2023, involved around 1,000 people per country. Researchers used phone calls and face-to-face surveys, covering approximately 77% of the world’s adult population.

The findings of loneliness worldwide echoed previous reports from the World Health Organization and the US surgeon general, highlighting the severe consequences of loneliness on mental and physical health, potentially leading to premature death.

How Better Together is helping tackle loneliness

Voluntary Norfolk’s Better Together service has years of experience working with people and communities to tackle loneliness and social isolation. Our Life connectors understand that most people experience loneliness at some time in their lives. Sometimes, this is caused by changes in family circumstances, moving home, bereavement, caring commitments or physical or mental ill health.

Loneliness affects people of all ages from all backgrounds. While we know that connecting with other people, volunteering or taking part in activities and groups can help overcome a sense of loneliness, it can be hard to take those first steps. That is where our Life Connectors can help and have the most positive impact.

Better Together brings people together and offers information, advice and support to help people make the most of activities and opportunities in their area. Get in touch if we can help.

Back to News