How should we tackle the loneliness epidemic?

One of the biggest changes to the way we live has been the big increase in the number of people who live alone.

One of the biggest changes to the way we live has been the big increase in the number of people who live alone.

More than a quarter of all households in the UK contain just one person, around 7.7 million people, and this is predicted to increase by another two million over the next decade or so.

It is partly about living longer – older people whose partners have died increasingly find themselves on their own. Around 2.2 million people over 75 live alone, some 430,000 more than in 1996.

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The surprising truth about loneliness

The reality of feeling alone is not what many people think. Claudia Hammond, who instigated a survey called the BBC Loneliness Experiment, explores five counterintuitive findings.

The reality of feeling alone is not what many people think. Claudia Hammond, who instigated a survey called the BBC Loneliness Experiment, explores five counterintuitive findings.

Read the survey

About the results

The findings in this article are based on an online survey of 55,000 people from around the world, called the BBC Loneliness Experiment. It was created by academics at three British universities in collaboration with Wellcome Collection.

What does it feel like to be old and alone?

The charity Campaign to End Loneliness says that one million of us are already suffering from acute loneliness, while two and a half million over 60s fear they could end up similarly isolated.

The charity Campaign to End Loneliness says that one million of us are already suffering from acute loneliness, while two and a half million over 60s fear they could end up similarly isolated. Watch this short Channel 4 documentary which asks What does it feel like to be old and alone?