The festive season, surrounded by friends and family, is supposed be a joyous time, so the thought of being lonely during the holiday period may come as a surprise. However recent data analysis by CareChoices, an organisation offering information on social care and support, concluded that keywords related to loneliness at Christmas ranked higher than any other keywords on Google UK during this period.
However, according to a CareChoices, loneliness can affect all age groups, at any time of the year. Its analysis of loneliness and well-being data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested that 16–29-year-olds experienced the highest levels of loneliness, with 37% of this age group saying they felt lonely always, often or some of the time. The respective proportions were 27% of those aged 30-49, 24% of 50–69-year-olds, and 20% aged 70 and over.
On the positive side, 57% of those aged 70 and over reported that they hardly ever or never felt lonely.
'Loneliness on Christmas' Topped Google Searches
CareChoices also analysed data on Google keyword searches relating to loneliness at Christmas, which peaked over the holiday period. The analysis showed that during the month there were:
- 3600 searches for "loneliness on Christmas"
- 1300 searches for "alone at Christmas"
- 170 searches for "being alone at Christmas"
- 140 searches for "where to go for Christmas when you are alone"
- 90 searches for "waking up alone on Christmas"
- 90 searches for "no family or friends at Christmas"
A YouGov survey in 2019 discovered that 43% of the population had at some time felt 'stressed' during December, 26% 'depressed', and 23% 'lonely' during the Christmas period, with 25-34-year-olds experiencing the highest levels of loneliness, reported by 31% of this age group. People who were unemployed or not working for other reasons were most likely to report feeling lonely (27% and 33% respectively), whereas the retired population experienced the lowest levels of loneliness at 11%.
Not surprisingly perhaps, people who were separated or divorced, and those who never married, suffered the most, with 35% of each group reporting loneliness over Christmas.