Loneliness is seen by many as one of the largest health concerns we face. Why? Here are the the facts.

Health risks

  • Loneliness, living alone and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
  • Loneliness is worse for you than obesity. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
  • Lonely people are more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease and depression. (Valtorta et al, 2016) (James et al, 2011) (Cacioppo et al, 2006)
  • Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 29% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015)

Loneliness and older people

  • There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK (Age UK 2016, No-one should have no one).
  • Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all (Age UK 2016, No-one should have no one).
  • Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone (Office for National Statistics 2010. General Lifestyle Survey 2008).
  • Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company (Age, U.K., 2014. Evidence Review: Loneliness in Later Life. London: Age UK).
  • There are over 2.2 million people aged 75 and over living alone in Great Britain, an increase of almost a quarter (24%) over the past 20 years (ONS).

Loneliness and people of all ages

  • A study by The Co-op and the British Red Cross reveals over 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages – more than the population of London – are either always or often lonely.
  • Research commissioned by Eden Project initiative The Big Lunch found that disconnected communities could be costing the UK economy £32 billion every year.

Loneliness and families

  • A survey by Action for Children found that 43% of 17 – 25 year olds who used their service had experienced problems with loneliness, and that of this same group less than half said they felt loved.
  • Action for Children have also reported 24% of parents surveyed said they were always or often lonely.

Loneliness and disabled people

  • Research by Sense has shown that up to 50% of disabled people will be lonely on any given day.