Children’s and young people’s experiences of loneliness
Analysis of children's and young people’s views, experiences and suggestions to overcome loneliness, using in-depth interviews, the Community Life Survey 2016 to 2017 and Good Childhood Index Survey, 2018.
Main points (children aged 10 to 15 years):
- 11.3% of children said that they were “often” lonely; this was more common among younger children aged 10 to 12 years (14.0%) than among those aged 13 to 15 years (8.6%).
- 27.5% of children who received free school meals said they were “often” lonely, compared with 5.5% of those who did not.
- 19.5% of children living in a city reported “often” feeling lonely, compared with just over 5% of those living in either towns or rural areas.
- Children who reported “low” satisfaction with their health said they “often” felt lonely (28.3%), compared with those who had “medium, high or very high” satisfaction (about 10%).
- Children who reported “low” satisfaction with their relationships with family and friends were also more likely to say they were “often” lonely (34.8% and 41.1%, respectively).
Main points (young people aged 16 to 24 years):
- 9.8% of young people said that they were “often” lonely.
- Nearly half of young men reported that they “hardly ever or never” felt lonely, compared with 32.4% of young women.
- Those reporting no long-term illness or disability were much more likely to say they “hardly ever or never” felt lonely (44.8%) than those with a long-term illness or disability (19.3%).
- Young people living in a household with other adults were more likely to say that they “hardly ever or never” felt lonely than those living in single-adult households (over 40% compared with 18.2%, respectively).