Joint Research Centre report: loneliness has doubled across the EU since the pandemic

One in four EU citizens reported feeling lonely during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), presented today. The report contains the latest scientific evidence on loneliness and social isolation in the EU, and analyses the survey by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, showing that feelings of loneliness doubled across all age groups in the early months of the pandemic. There was a four-fold increase in loneliness among 18-35 year olds, compared to 2016. Media coverage across the EU on the phenomenon of loneliness also doubled during the pandemic, with awareness of the issue varying widely across Member States. The JRC report explores initiatives to tackle loneliness in 10 EU Member States. Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has brought problems like loneliness and social isolation to the fore. These feelings already existed, but there was less public awareness of them. With this new report, we can start to better understand and tackle these problems. Together with other initiatives, like the Green Paper on Ageing, we have an opportunity to reflect on how to build together a more resilient, cohesive society and an EU that is closer to its citizens.” Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, added: “Loneliness is a challenge that is increasingly affecting our young people. But to address any challenge effectively we first need to understand it. Our scientists at the Joint Research Centre are providing valuable insights into loneliness and how people have been impacted by the pandemic. This new report gives us a baseline for broader analysis, so that loneliness and social isolation can be fully understood and addressed in Europe.” The report is the first step of broader collaborative work between the European Parliament and the Commission. The project will include new EU-wide data collection on loneliness, to be carried out in 2022, and the establishment of a web platform to monitor loneliness over time and across Europe. Read more here and the full report here.