This report uses New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS) information to explore patterns of loneliness in adults aged 15 years and older in New Zealand. This report discusses:
- the prevalence of loneliness among the adult population
- the relationship between loneliness and a range of key risk factors
- the relationship with age for each risk factor
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Summary of key findings
Prevalence of loneliness in New Zealand
- In 2010, one in three (1.02 million) adult New Zealanders felt lonely to some degree in the last four weeks.
- This includes 21,700 people (0.7 percent) who felt lonely all of the time, 94,500 (3.0 percent) most of the time, and 374,000 (12 percent) some of the time.
- 18 percent of young adults felt lonely all, most, or some of the time, compared with 11 percent of older people.
Factors associated with loneliness
- Overall, young adults had a greater likelihood of feeling lonely.
- The chances of feeling lonely decreased linearly with age, so that older people were the least likely to feel lonely.
- There was a strong relationship between loneliness and poor mental health that was consistent across all ages.
Factors differ by stage of life
- There was a strong relationship between a person’s economic standard of living and their feelings of loneliness. This association increased for older people.
- Being a recent migrant was associated with loneliness only for people in midlife.
- Young people and people in midlife were more likely to feel lonely when they lived alone. Older people were less likely to feel lonely when they live in a two-person household than other household sizes, including large households.
- Younger and older women were more likely to feel lonely than their male counterparts.
ISBN 978-0-478-40826-3 (online)
Published 23 April 2013