The pandemic has isolated us and remote work has been limited to talking through screens. We’ve lost some spontaneous interactions with strangers, like the local breakfast vendor or the workplace concierge, that made us feel grateful, even alive. So it’s no wonder experts say we’re facing a loneliness epidemic. This year’s report looked at which states were the loneliest and what factors contribute to loneliness. According to research by AgingInPlace, Maine topped the list as the loneliest state, followed by Florida and then Ohio. Utah, Alaska and Hawaii became the least lonely states.
A Harvard study last year found that 36% of Americans experience “severe loneliness,” but that number rises to more than 50% among young adults and mothers of young children. Another report found that more than a third of those 45 and older feel lonely, as older Americans are more susceptible to loneliness risk factors such as retirement, living alone, chronic illness and bereavement, according to the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering. , and medicine.
According to the American Psychological Association, researchers point to loneliness, the feeling of “being or the perception that you are alone or otherwise alone,” as more harmful than just unpleasant.
“Feeling lonely is like feeling isolated regardless of the circumstances, and we’ve all been in that situation where we’re with people but don’t feel connected to them,” loneliness researcher Dr. Louise Hawkley. A principal scientist at NORC at the University of Chicago Academic Research Centers told an American Psychological Association podcast, As for psychology earlier this year.
Social isolation and loneliness are not synonymous, but isolation can lead to loneliness and health risks. Social isolation has been associated with an approximately 50% increased risk of dementia and higher rates of heart disease and stroke. Loneliness was correlated with higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide. Research shows that LGBTQ+ people and immigrants are more likely to experience loneliness.
Researchers at AgingInPlace used a number of factors to determine a state’s loneliness, such as the percentage of single-person households, the frequency of searches for dating and friendship apps, divorce rates and the percentage of widows. Loneliness refers to dissatisfaction with one’s life, including social connections and life expectations, so looking for a sense of security elsewhere, such as an app, can be a sign that someone is feeling uncomfortable and lonely.
Although Maine has a small population, nearly a third of people live in one-person households, and 14% are divorced.
A large influx of retirees, many of whom are widowed or divorced, is flocking to Florida, making the state the second loneliest state, according to the study.
And Ohioans want friendship, according to a study that found more people in this Midwestern state are looking to dating apps.
Lucky for those who live in the Mountain State, Utah had the lowest percentage of single-person households and was one of the states with the fewest widows and women looking for connections on dating or friendship apps. AgingInPlace notes the high percentage of Mormons in the state, so few people live alone. Even Alaska, the least densely populated state, has the fewest widows and is the second least lonely state.
Especially as we age, combating loneliness is an essential part of maintaining optimal health. Seeking social connections and activities can help enhance cognitive function as you age. Joining community groups, going outside with others, and connecting with loved ones online or in person can help combat loneliness.
“Older adults have become so isolated and forced to feel like they are no longer productive members of society, which in itself is lonely,” Hawkley tells the American Psychological Association. “For a healthy society, we need to find ways to include all segments of the population, and many of these intergenerational housing programs seem to go a long way toward dispelling myths about aging and helping older people feel important.” and valued members of the public again.”
4. New Mexico
7. Oregon (tie)
7. Rhode Island (tie)
10. District of Columbia
13. Missouri (tie)
13. Montana (tie)
16. Wisconsin (tie)
16. West Virginia (tie)
18. Kentucky (tied)
18. Arkansas (tie)
21. Tennessee (tie)
21. New York (tie)
23. Colorado (tie)
23. North Carolina (tie)
23. South Carolina (tie)
23. Alabama (tie)
Least Lone States:
32. Iowa (tie)
32. Mississippi (tie)
35. New Hampshire
38. New Jersey
39. North Dakota
40. Maryland (tie)
40. Kansas (tie)
42. South Dakota
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