A new report entitled ‘The Global State of Social Connections’ was published this month. It showed that loneliness is a problem affecting potentially more than a billion people across the planet. Regardless of age or gender, loneliness is a problem that can affect anyone.
The report has been produced by a collaboration between GALLUP, an American analytics company and Meta, the parent company that owns social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp owners. It was a truly worldwide study, though it had a few omissions like China. However, participants from 140 countries took part in the survey. It found that one in four people reported feeling ‘very or fairly lonely’.
A further 27 per cent of respondents indicated that they felt a little bit lonely. That’s over half of respondents agreeing that loneliness is something they experience in their lives. The problem was slightly higher in younger generations. The levels of reported loneliness were lowest in those aged 65+. 42 per cent reported some kind of loneliness and only 17 per cent reported feeling very lonely. Whereas in ages 19-29 for example, 57 per cent reported loneliness, with 25 per cent at the more extreme end of the problem.
When broken down by regions, African countries and those in southern Asia reported higher levels of loneliness. Take the US for example, only 15 per cent of people reported feeling very lonely, which is about 10 per cent lower than the average for all countries. Afghanistan and Namibia on the other hand for example reported nearly 50 per cent feeling very or fairly lonely. Some countries reported a difference between men and women, but overall, the likelihood of loneliness to affect both was fairly similar.
If you need any more evidence that loneliness is a huge problem, and social discovery apps have a huge opportunity to solve it, this is it. Technology can not solve some of the structural cultural issues that contribute to loneliness. But nonetheless, there are apps and platforms that facilitate and make it easier for people to find like minded individuals.