U.S. Loneliness Statistics and Data

Scientifically reviewed by Viktor Sander B.Sc., B.A. on May 21, 2020.

This page summarizes statistics and data from the major surveys on loneliness and isolation in America between 2016-2020. Data sources include OECD, Cigna, YouGov, and The Kaiser Family Foundation

Sections

  1. Loneliness in the general U.S. population
  2. Loneliness in the U.S. compared to other countries
  3. Loneliness and the Coronavirus / COVID-19 epidemic
  4. Loneliness and health
  5. Loneliness in generation Z
  6. Loneliness among millennials
  7. Loneliness in generation X
  8. Loneliness among the elderly
  9. Loneliness and work
  10. Loneliness and income
  11. Loneliness and gender
  12. Loneliness and race
  13. Loneliness and education
  14. Loneliness and social media
  15. Costs associated with loneliness


Loneliness in the General U.S. PopulationLoneliness in the United States 2019

  • 61% of Americans are lonely in 2019. In 2018, that number was 54%.2 (US, Cigna, 2020)
  • 52% sometimes or always feel alone in 2019. In 2018, that number was 46%.2 (US, Cigna, 2020)
  • 47% sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful in 2019. In 2018, that number was 43%.2 (US, Cigna, 2020)
  • 21% have no close friends.3 (US, YouGov, 2019)
  • 58% sometimes or always feel like no one knows them well in 2019. In 2018, that number was 54%.2 (US, Cigna, 2020)
  • 49% sometimes or always feel as though they lack companionship in 2019. In 2018, that number was 43%.2 (US, Cigna, 2020)
  • 53% say it’s difficult to make friends because they are shy.3 (US, YouGov, 2019)

Loneliness in the U.S. Compared to Other Countries

10.1% of Americans report not having friends or relatives they can count on. The same number for the UK is 6.8%, Denmark 4.7%, Iceland 1.7%. Some countries that are more affected: Israel 13.4% Greece 17.7%. Mexico 19.9%16 (OECD, 2017. How’s Life?)

22% of Americans often or always feel lonely. The same number for the UK is 23% and Japan 9%.15 (KFF, 2018)


Loneliness and the Coronavirus / COVID-19 Epidemic

Coronavirus loneliness vs Age

  • 34% percent of millennials always or often feel more lonely because of the coronavirus situation14 (SocialPro, April 24, 2020)
  • 27% percent of Gen Z always or often feel more lonely because of the coronavirus situation14 (SocialPro, April 24, 2020)
  • 22% percent of Gen X always or often feel more lonely because of the coronavirus situation14 (SocialPro, April 24, 2020)
  • 20% percent of Baby boomers always or often feel more lonely because of the coronavirus situation14 (SocialPro, April 24, 2020)

Coronavirus loneliness vs Gender

  • 30.6% of men compared to 25.7% of women always or often feel more lonely because of the coronavirus situation14 (SocialPro, April 24, 2020)


Loneliness and Health

  • 26% increase in the likelihood of mortality among individuals who feel lonely.11 (Social Relationships and Mortality Risk, 2010)
  • 45% increased risk of mortality in seniors who are lonely.12 (HRSA, US, 2019)
  • 29% increased risk of heart disease in individuals with poor social relationships.13 (UK, 2016)
  • 32% increased risk of stroke in individuals with poor social relationships.13 (UK, 2016)
  • Loneliness and isolation have similar effects on health as being obese, an alcoholic, or smoking 15 cigarettes per day.5 (UK, 2010)
  • Loneliness is more harmful than not exercising.5 (UK, 2010)


Loneliness in Generation Z (Born 1997–2012)

  • Gen Z is the loneliest age group.1 (US, Cigna, 2019)
  • 65% Sometimes or always feel lonely.3 (US, YouGov, 2019)
  • 69% feel shy.1 (US, Cigna, 2019)
  • 19% have no close friends.3 (US, YouGov, 2019)
  • 87% say it’s difficult to make new friends because they are shy.3 (US, YouGov, 2019)


Loneliness Among Millennials (Born 1982–1999)

  • 65% sometimes or always feel lonely.3 (US, YouGov, 2019)
  • 27% have no close friends.3 (US, YouGov, 2019)
  • 60% say it’s difficult to make new friends because they are shy.3 (US, YouGov, 2019)
  • 42% of millennial women are more afraid of loneliness than a cancer diagnosis.7 (US, State of Women’s Wellness, 2017)


Loneliness in Generation X (Born 1961–1981)

  • 50% sometimes or always feel lonely.3 (US, YouGov, 2019)
  • 33% have no close friends.3 (US, YouGov, 2019)


Loneliness Among the Elderly

  • 44% of Baby Boomers sometimes or always feel lonely.3 (US, YouGov, 2019)3
  • 16% of Baby Boomers have no close friends.3 (US, YouGov, 2019)
  • People with a high degree of loneliness are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as people with a low degree of loneliness.8 (AgeUK, UK, 2014)


Loneliness and Work

Data from Cigna Loneliness Index, US, 2020.

  • 32% of men and 23% of women feel abandoned by coworkers when under pressure.2
  • 35% feel a general sense of emptiness at work.2
  • 39% feel like they have to hide their true self at work.2
  • Lonely workers say they are less engaged, less productive, and report lower retention rates.2
  • 54% of remote workers feel that their relationships with others are not meaningful. 45% of office-workers feel this way.2
  • 57% of remote workers say they always or sometimes feel lonely. 52% of office-workers feel this way.2


Loneliness and Income

Data from YouGov Friendship, US, 2019

People Who Sometimes or Always Feel Lonely vs Income

  • 58% of people making under $40k/year sometimes or always feel lonely.3
  • 52% of people making $40-$80k/year sometimes or always feel lonely.3
  • 47% of people making $80k+/year sometimes or always feel lonely.3

People Who Have No Close Friends vs Income

  • 30% of people making under $40k/year have no close friends.3
  • 21% of people making $40-$80k/year have no close friends.3
  • 11% of people making $80k+/year have no close friends.3


Loneliness and Gender

Data from Cigna Loneliness Index, US, 2020

  • 63% of men and 58% of women feel lonely.2


Loneliness and Race

Data from YouGov Friendship, US, 2019

  • 52% of Whites sometimes or always feel lonely.3
  • 64% of Hispanics sometimes or always feel lonely.3
  • 47% of Blacks sometimes or always feel lonely.3
  • 17% of Whites have no close friends.3
  • 28% of Hispanics have no close friends.3
  • 37% of Blacks have no close friends.3


Loneliness and Education

Data from YouGov Friendship, US, 2019

  • 30% of people without high school graduation have no close friends.3
  • 15% of people with some college education have no close friends.3
  • 16% of people with a 4-year college education have no close friends.3
  • 10% of people with a Post Grad have no close friends.3


Loneliness and Social Media

  • 34% of children aged 12-17 admit to being cyberbullied.9 (US, 2017)
  • 73% of very heavy social media users feel lonely. Compare to light users who feel lonely: 52%.6 (Cigna, US, 2020)
  • When social media is used to enhance existing relationships, it reduces loneliness.10 (UK, 2017)
  • When social media is used to escape social interaction, it increases loneliness.10 (UK, 2018)


Costs Associated With Loneliness

  • $6.7B is the additional US federal healthcare cost related to loneliness among the elderly.4 (US, 2017)

References

  1. Cigna (2018). “Cigna U.S. Loneliness Index – Survey of 20,000 Americans Examining Behaviors Driving Loneliness in the United States”. Retrieved from ipsos.com.
  2. Cigna (2020). “Loneliness and the Workplace – 2020 U.S. Report“. Retrieved from cigna.com.
  3. YouGov (2019). “Friendship“. Retrieved from Cloudfront.net.
  4. Insight on the Issues (2017). “Medicare Spends More on Socially Isolated Older Adults“. Retrieved from aarp.org.
  5. Sciencedaily (2010). “Relationships Improve Your Odds of Survival by 50 Percent, Research Finds“. Retrieved from sciencedaily.com.
  6. NPR (2020). “Most Americans Are Lonely, And Our Workplace Culture May Not Be Helping“. Retrieved from npr.com.
  7. Everyday Health (2017). “State of Women’s Wellness 2017“. Retrieved from agoramedia.com.
  8. AgeUK (2014). “Over 1 Million Older People in the UK Feel Lonely“. Retrieved from ageuk.com.
  9. Sciencedaily (2017). “Nationwide Teen Bullying and Cyberbullying Study Reveals Significant Issues Impacting Youth“. Retrieved from sciencedaily.com
  10. Nowland, R., Necka, E. A., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2018). Loneliness and social internet use: pathways to reconnection in a digital world?Perspectives on Psychological Science13(1), 70-87.
  11. Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., Baker, M., Harris, T., & Stephenson, D. (2015). Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: a meta-analytic reviewPerspectives on psychological science10(2), 227-237.
  12. Health Resources & Services Administration (2019). “The “Loneliness Epidemic”“. Retrieved from hrsa.gov.
  13. Valtorta, N. K., Kanaan, M., Gilbody, S., Ronzi, S., & Hanratty, B. (2016). Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal observational studiesHeart102(13), 1009-1016.
  14. SocialPro (2020). “Loneliness and Anxiety During Lockdown“. Retrieved from socialpronow.com.
  15. DiJulio, B., Hamel, L., Muñana, C., & Brodie, M. (2018). Loneliness and social isolation in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan: An international surveyKaiser Family Foundation.
  16. OECD iLibrary (2020). “How’s Life?: Measuring Well-being” Retrieved from oecd-ilibrary.org.