Ben Goode

Under 30s more lonely than those in midlife or older

UNDER 30s are more likely to feel lonely than older people, a study shows.

The Loneliness in New Zealand report, published by Statistics New Zealand today, shows the chance of loneliness decreases with age, so over 65s are the least likely to feel alone.

The results showed 18 per cent of people aged under 30 had felt lonely at least some of the time in the previous four weeks.

Among those categorised as 'midlife' - aged 30 to 64 years - 16 per cent had felt lonely, while among people aged 65 and over, the figure was just 11 per cent.

Social statistics manager Steve Manning said loneliness was seen as largely a problem for older people in western societies, which saw more policies focused on those age groups.

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"These findings show that attention could be given to loneliness in younger people as well," he said.

Results also showed people who had not had face-to-face contact with family and friends in the past week were more likely to feel lonely, as were those who lived alone.

Loneliness and poor mental health were strongly related across all ages.

Young people were not as likely to feel lonely because of financial hardship, but among older people, lack of money was a significant influence on loneliness.

Women were more likely to feel lonely than men.

The study used data from the 2010 New Zealand General Social Survey, which collected information from 8500 New Zealanders aged 15 years and over between April 2010 and March 2011.

It showed that in the previous four weeks, one in three adult New Zealanders, or about 1.02 million people, felt lonely.

Of these, 27,000 people felt lonely all of the time, 94,500 felt lonely most of the time, 374,000 some of the time, and 526,000 felt lonely a little of the time.

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