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Jo Cox Commision on Loneliness: the data

We conducted a survey in association with the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, and the results reveal worrying findings when it comes to the older generation. Below you can find the results of that survey on the silent epidemic that is loneliness.

We'd like to explore the topic of loneliness. To what extend would do agree or disagree with the following statements?

No. of cases 1014
I feel lonelier now than I did when I was younger
Net agree 59%
Net disagree 38%
Strongly agree 29%
Tend to agree 30%
Tend to disagree 23%
Strongly disagree 14%
No idea/no answer 4%

People of any age can feel lonely
Net agree 97%
Net disagree 2%
Strongly agree 79%
Tend to agree 18%
Tend to disagree 1%
Strongly disagree 1%
No idea/no answer 1%

Sometimes an entire day goes past and I haven’t spoken to anybody
Net agree 39%
Net disagree 58%
Strongly agree 21%
Tend to agree 18%
Tend to disagree 24%
Strongly disagree 35%
No idea/no answer 3%

Social media helps me to feel less lonely
Net agree 59%
Net disagree 33%
Strongly agree 13%
Tend to agree 45%
Tend to disagree 23%
Strongly disagree 10%
No idea/no answer 9%

It’s possible to feel lonely even when you have a partner/family
Net agree 93%
Net disagree 5%
Strongly agree 48%
Tend to agree 45%
Tend to disagree 4%
Strongly disagree 1%
No idea/no answer 2%

Talking about feeling lonely is much easier when you’re anonymous and online
Net agree 82%
Net disagree 10%
Strongly agree 34%
Tend to agree 48%
Tend to disagree 8%
Strongly disagree 2%
No idea/no answer 8%


What do you think would be the best way to combat loneliness in the UK these days?

No. of cases 1014
Greater public awareness of the problem and what we can do to help 43%
Greater awareness amongst health professionals 6%
More money for services and activities for older/ more vulnerable people 28%
Improved access to digital services 2%
Better transport 7%
Other 6%
No idea/no answer 8%


How often, if at all, do you feel lonely?

No. of cases 1014
Net lonely 73%
I'm constantly lonely 5%
I'm often lonely 25%
I occasionally feel lonely 38%
I feel lonely but only at evenings/at weekends/over holidays such as Christmas 5%
Not lonely 27%


How long have you felt this way?

No. of cases 741
Not long; the feeling of loneliness comes and goes 29%
Days 1%
Months 10%
Years 49%
I've always felt lonely 11%
No answer 0%



In which of the following scenarios is your loneliness most acute. Please tick one.

No. of cases 741
When physically on my own 21%
In large groups 6%
In the company of someone (partner/family) with whom I no longer connect 9%
When everyone else around me seems to be in couple or groups 18%
My loneliness is more to do with my own state of mind than with the other people around me (or not around me) 33%
At weekends/holidays/birthdays/other special occasions 9%
Other 3%
No answer 1%


Can you pinpoint a stage in your life when you began to feel lonely? please tick all that apply.

No. of cases 741
After bereavement 22%
When I retired 18%
I’ve always felt lonely/not after a specific event or time 18%
When my children left home 16%
After experiencing problems with my health 16%
After separation/divorce 15%
When I moved away from established friends and close family 14%
When friends or close family moved away 10%
When I had young children 5%
Other 12%
No answer 0%


Do any of the following factors contribute to your loneliness? please tick all that apply.

No. of cases 741
I'm shy 31%
I live alone 30%
Health or mobility issues make it difficult for me to socialise 21%
I'm single 20%
I live far away from family 20%
Low income 20%
Bad experience with friends 13%
My relationship with my partner/spouse is not good 11%
I live in an isolated location 9%
I don’t get on well with family members 8%
I’m not great with technology 3%
None of the above 16%
No answer 0%


Have you ever told people (either face to face or in another way)

No. of cases 741
No, I’ve never spoken about it to anyone 56%
Yes, I’ve mentioned it to people in ‘real life’ 36%
Yes, I have called a helpline 1%
Yes, I’ve talked about it online 4%
No answer 1%


If you have told other people that you feel lonely - in real life or online - which of the following apply? Please tick all that apply.

No. of cases 304
I've told members of my family 41%
I've told my partner 24%
I’ve told my GP or other healthcare worker 16%
I’ve posted on Gransnet about it 6%
I’ve told someone quite ‘random’ in real life, eg a fellow passenger on
public transport
I’ve posted elsewhere on the internet about it (not Gransnet) 8%
I’ve called telephone helplines such as The Silver Line 4%
I’ve contacted charities such as Age UK for help and support 3%
I’ve spoken to local sources of support in my community (eg,church/religious
staff or volunteers, social services, local charities)
Other 25%
No answer 0%


If you have never told anyone that you feel lonely, how surprised do you think close friends and family would be to hear that you feel this way?

No. of cases 418
I think they would be astonished 17%
I think they would be quite surprised 54%
I think they would be neither surprised nor unsurprised 17%
I don’t think they would be very surprised 9%
I don’t think they would be surprised at all 3%
No answer 0%


What, if any, have you found are the most effective ways to combat loneliness?

No. of cases 1014
Making a big effort to contact existing friends and family members 39%
Joining local, community, religious or hobby groups and activities 37%
Doing paid or voluntary work 30%
Making a big effort to find and make new friends 28%
I have not found an effective way to combat it 26%
Joining Gransnet 22%
Making a big effort to be friendly with my neighbours 21%
Doing ‘random acts of kindness’ 21%
Planning my time carefully 18%
Joining other internet sites (not Gransnet) 12%
Finding a partner (if you were/are single) 10%
Re-connecting with partner (if you were/are in a relationship) 6%
Seeking advice from official sources (eg healthcare workers or social services) 3%
Using other befriending services 3%
Other 8%
No answer 0%

Are you male of female?

No. of cases 1014
Male 3%
Female 97%
Other 0%
No answer 0%


Which of the following best applies to you?

No. of cases 1014
Full time paid employment 10%
Full time self employed 1%
Part time paid employment 11%
Part time self employed 5%
Retired 62%
Student 0%
Looking for work 3%
Carer - children/grandchildren 4%
Carer - adult 3%
No answer 1%


What is your current relationship status?


No. of cases 1014
Other 1%
Single - not in a relationship 9%
In a relationship but not co-habiting 3%
Co-habiting but not married/in a civil partnership 6%
Married/in a civil partnership 54%
Divorced 12%
Separated 2%
Widowed 11%
Prefer not to say/no answer 1%


How many adults or children live in your home, including yourself? (Adults 18+)


No. of cases 1014
1 35%
2 55%
3 6%
4 2%
5 0%
6 or more 0%
No answer 2%


How many adults and children live in your home (please include yourself)? (Children under 18)

No. of cases 1014
1 4%
2 3%
3 1%
4 0%
5 0%
6 or more 0%
No answer 92%


Please tell us which of the below best describes your ethnicity

No. of cases 1014
White british 93%
White Irish 2%
Any other white ethnic group, please describe* 2%
Any mixed or multiple ethnic groups, please describe* 0%
Pakistani or Pakistani British 0%
Indian or Indian British 0%
Bangladeshi or Bangladeshi British 0%
Chinese or Chinese British 0%
Any other Asian, please describe* 0%
African 0%
Caribbean 0%
Any other African, Black or Caribbean, please describe* 0%
Arab or Arab British 0%
Any other ethnic group, please describe* 1%
No answer 1%


Where do you live?

No. of cases 1014
North East 4%
North West 11%
Yorkshire & The Humber 8%
East Midlands 8%
West Midlands 8%
East of England 9%
London 7%
South East 20%
South West 12%
Isle of Man 0%
Wales 4%
Scotland 6%
Northern Ireland 1%
Channel Islands 0%
No answer 1%




To see our breakdown of the results, and for more information on how you can help, click here.