One Small Step

Our September 2021 research explores the impact of loneliness on young people's mental wellbeing, skills and sense of community

We researched loneliness and its impacts on young people’s mental wellbeing, skills and community.

What we found

  • Chronic youth loneliness (young people who are lonely often or always) has risen by 400,000 over the past year to 1.9m
  • Young people who have ever had free school meals are twice as likely to be chronically lonely compared to those who haven’t (20% compared to 10%)
  • 85% of chronically lonely young people say loneliness has negatively impacted on their mental wellbeing while 70% said it made them less able to perform well in school or work.
  • Half of all lonely young people (50%) say loneliness makes them less likely to want to help out in their local community
  • Three fifths of all young people who feel lonely (61%) say it’s made them want to help other lonely young people.

How we did it

Unless otherwise stated, statistics used in this report refer to the Co-op Foundation/Opinium Lonely Not Alone survey August 2021. Fieldwork was completed by Opinium. Opinium surveyed a sample of 2,001 10 to 25-year-olds, representative of each age group (10 years, 11-12, 13-15, 16-18, 19-21, 22-25) living in the UK. Fieldwork was conducted between
16 and 23 August 2021. For our survey, we used the national loneliness measure recommended by the Office for National Statistics. Visit the ONS website for more information.