Lifetime of loneliness: one in four young people feels lonely

19 December 2018

We usually associate loneliness with getting older but Young Women’s Trust, a charity that supports young women on low or no pay, has found that a quarter of young people feel isolated.

One in four people aged 18 to 30 feels lonely (25 per cent), compared to one in 10 64- to 72-year-olds (11 per cent), according to the charity’s survey of more than 4,000 young people and 1,000 baby boomers. The figure rises to nearly one in three for women aged 18 to 24.

Yorkshire and the Humber is the loneliest region for young people, with 29 per cent feeling lonely, followed by 27 per cent in London. Young people in Wales feel the least lonely, at 20 per cent.

Among the reasons for loneliness could be a lack of close relationships, with one in five in the charity’s survey saying they feel like they have no one to turn to. The Office for National Statistics earlier this year found that “younger renters with little trust and sense of belonging to their area” were particularly at risk of isolation.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:

“We cannot ignore the epidemic of loneliness among young people, and especially young women, in the UK.

“Feeling isolated can have a bad impact on young women’s confidence and their mental health. Combined with a lack of networks, this can make it harder to look for jobs and can lead to young women being shut out of the labour market.

“As well as investment in community and mental health services, more support is needed for young women who want to work. This could include mentoring to help ease women’s move back into education or employment. Tackling loneliness would benefit individuals, businesses and the economy.”

Young Women’s Trust supports young women into work and training through its free coaching and CV

Notes to editor

1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 in England and Wales trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don’t go to waste.

2. All figures unless otherwise stated are based on findings from a survey carried out for Young Women’s Trust by Populus Data Solutions. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30 year olds and 1,115 54-72 year olds in England and Wales, with panel services provided by Populus Live, were surveyed between 29 June-16 July 2018.

  • 25 per cent of young people (or a quarter) feel lonely;
  • 18 per cent of 54-63 year-olds feel lonely;
  • 11 per cent of 64-72 year-olds (or one in 10) feel lonely;
  • 29 per cent of mums aged 18-30 (or nearly one in three) feel lonely; and
  • 18 per cent of young people feel like they have no one to turn to (20 per cent of young women, 16 per cent of young men and 25 per cent of young mums).

3. The regional breakdowns for loneliness among 18-30 year olds are:

  • 29 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber;
  • 28 per cent in the North East;
  • 28 per cent in the North West;
  • 27 per cent in London;
  • 26 per cent in the East of England;
  • 25 per cent in the West Midlands;
  • 25 per cent in the South West;
  • 23 per cent in the East Midlands;
  • 23 per cent in the South East; and
  • 20 per cent in Wales. 4. The Office for National Statistics published analysis of the characteristics and circumstances associated with loneliness in April 2018.