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National Measurement of Loneliness: 2018

Loneliness is a feeling that most people will experience at some point in their lives. However, prolonged and extreme exposure to loneliness can seriously impact an individual’s well-being, and their ability to function in society. As loneliness has been shown to be linked to poor physical and mental health, and poor personal wellbeing with potentially adverse effects on communities, it is an issue of increasing interest to policy-makers at local and national levels as well as internationally.

In January 2018, the Prime Minister tasked Office for National Statistics (ONS) with developing national indicators of loneliness suitable for use on major studies to inform future policy in England, including people across society and of all ages. We have worked with the cross-government Tackling Loneliness Team and a Loneliness Technical Advisory Group (TAG) comprising experts in loneliness measurement and analysis to agree a working definition of loneliness, and ideal criteria for the indicators and for the collection of data.