Which Londoners are more likely to be severely lonely and why?  

How can we tackle loneliness across London? 

The Reconceptualising Loneliness in London report, authored by Neighbourly Lab, Campaign to End Loneliness and What Works Centre for Wellbeing, was commissioned by the GLA to explore the unequal distribution of loneliness across the capital. Building on from the Mayor’s Strategy for Social Integration, the research illuminates some of the factors and experiences that impact on Londoners’ collective capacity to build equal and meaningful relationships across difference.

The research starts a new and challenging conversation about the structural factors that contribute to loneliness in our city and proposes innovative areas for action to help funders, local and central government, civil society organisations and each of us as individuals to prioritise relationships in the emerging recovery from the pandemic. 

What’s in the report?  

The research covers a variety of unique angles on loneliness:

  • It provides an explanatory framework of the contributing aspects of severe loneliness, informed by the most up-to-date scientific and social research
  • It illustrates the five main circumstances which are most likely to drive severe loneliness in London, based on an analysis of survey data
  • It analyses the groups across London who report higher than average rates of severe loneliness
  • It delivers a comprehensive and ambitious summary of interventions, projects and ideas for reducing loneliness; and proposes actions for the increase of social connection across the city

Key findings 

  • Londoners are more likely than others in the UK to be affected by severe forms of loneliness – 700,000 of them feel lonely ‘most’ or ‘all of the time’. The pandemic is very likely to have exacerbated this further.
  • Loneliness is felt unequally and disproportionately impacts some groups:
  • While overall 8% of Londoners experience severe loneliness, this is 12% for young Londoners; 18% for low-income Londoners; 15% for LGBTQ+ Londoners; 12% for Single Parents; 18% for Deaf and Disabled Londoners, and as high as 14% for some ethnic minority groups.
  • 5 key associative factors help to explain what is driving most severe loneliness in the capital. These factors highlight how wider, structural problems contribute to the emotional and physical isolation of severe loneliness.

Robin Hewings, our Programme Director said

“Severe loneliness has a massive impact on people’s lives and their health and mental wellbeing. It overlaps with depression and anxiety and feelings of despair and alienation.  It is critical that we recognise the health risks and costs posed by loneliness in London which as this report shows falls hardest on people who are already vulnerable.

“Tackling loneliness is challenging – and needs concerted effort from organisations from every layer of London society  and we look forward to the GLA’s work in making this happen”

To explore these findings in more detail, and read the proposed solutions to the problem areas identified, please read the full report here.

More information 

Download the full report

Read the press release

Read more information about loneliness  from the Greater London Authority