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Young and unemployed people more likely to suffer from lockdown loneliness


Area with higher crime and anxiety rates were also likely to see heightened levels of loneliness (Picture: Getty Images)

Young people and those who are unemployed have been more lonely during the pandemic, new figures suggest.

People in areas with higher crime rates or with higher levels of anxiety were also more likely to report loneliness, as well as those living in urban and industrial areas.

New Office for National Statistics (ONS) data suggests 7.2% of British adults felt lonely ‘often or always’ between October 2020 and February 2021.

That equates to around 3.7 million people, up from 2.6 million – or 5% of the population – between April and May 2020.

Based on demographics in particular areas, researchers said levels of loneliness tended to be greater in places with high concentrations of younger people and higher rates of unemployment, but lower in the countryside.

The north-east of England recorded the highest loneliness rate of any region in England (8.7%), while eastern England recorded the lowest (6.5%).

In Wales, 8.3% of adults admitted ‘often or always’ feeling lonely, compared with 7.3% in England and 6.5% in Scotland.

Urban areas outside of London have been linked to higher loneliness levels in young people (Picture: Getty Images)

The ONS said places with a lower average age have generally experienced higher rates of loneliness during the pandemic, and that ‘higher rates of loneliness reported by young people are particularly associated with urban areas outside London’.

Reasons given for being lonely included living in a single-person household, difficulties with relationships caused by the coronavirus crisis, and not having anyone to talk to.

Between October 2020 and February 2021, of those who said their wellbeing had been affected in the last seven days by the pandemic, 38.6% (around 10.5 million people) said it was because they were lonely, the ONS said.

Young people and single people were found to have been most affected by this seven-day measure, or ‘lockdown loneliness’.

Of those who said their wellbeing had been affected by the pandemic, the odds of someone aged 16 to 24 reporting feeling lonely in the last seven days were around four times greater than someone aged 75 or over, the ONS found.

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