Loneliness and Social Isolation in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan: An International Survey
To understand more about how people view the issue of loneliness and social isolation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, in partnership with The Economist, conducted a cross-country survey of adults in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan. The survey included additional interviews with individuals who report always or often feeling lonely, left out, isolated or that they lack companionship to better understand the personal characteristics and life circumstances associated with these feelings, the reported causes of loneliness, and how people are coping. More than a fifth of adults in the United States and the United Kingdom as well as one in ten adults in Japan say they often or always feel lonely, feel that they lack companionship, feel left out, or feel isolated from others, and many of them say their loneliness has had a negative impact on various aspects of their life. About six in ten say there is a specific cause of their loneliness, and they are also more likely to report experiencing negative life events in the past two years, such as a negative change in financial status. Those reporting loneliness in each country report having fewer confidants than others and two-thirds or more say they have just a few or no relatives or friends living nearby who they can rely on for support. Many in the U.S. and U.K. view the increased use of technology as a major reason why people are lonely or socially isolated, whereas fewer people in Japan say the same. But, for those experiencing loneliness or social isolation personally, they are divided as to whether they think social media makes their feelings of loneliness better or worse.