Europe’s coronavirus crisis: Feelings of loneliness doubled in 2020
Research conducted by the European Commission found that as a result of the outbreak of coronavirus in Europe, feelings of loneliness among EU residents doubled from 12 percent in 2016 to 25 percent in spring 2020.
European Commission uncovers Europe's loneliness crisis
The Commission compared the results of a 2016 study into loneliness in the EU with general sentiment between April and June last year. The results showed that, perhaps unsurprisingly, feelings of loneliness had risen significantly following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Loneliness among young people aged 18 to 25 increased fourfold between 2016 and 2020, while the elderly and members of the population with a migration background also reported feeling especially lonely.
According to researchers involved in the study, young people and those living alone were most harshly affected by the various lockdown measures introduced across the continent last spring. The European Commission says the ongoing pandemic has bought more attention to the EU’s loneliness crisis, and hopes that the findings of the study will play a role in combatting the issue in the long term.
Loneliness and coronavirus in the Netherlands
The EU study found that, in the Netherlands, the proportion of people who felt lonely at least one week out of every two increased from 4,6 percent in 2016 to 16,6 percent between April and June of last year. It was in these months that the people of the Netherlands lived under the so-called intelligent lockdown imposed by the Dutch government.
Investigations carried out by the Dutch Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP) and I&O Research had similar findings. In September of last year, the SCP reported that almost one in three people felt lonely, compared to 21 percent in 2019, while I&O Research discovered that 50 percent of young people reported feeling lonelier as a result of the pandemic.