America’s loneliness epidemic laid bare: Nearly 40MILLION adults now live alone and they are 64% more likely to be depressed than their peers, official report warns

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The number of people living alone in America has hit a new record level, with experts describing the situation as an epidemic.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published today estimated that 37.9million Americans were living alone in 2022, up 4.8million — 15 percent — from the numbers in 2012.

It also found that the proportion of the adult population living in single-person households had doubled since the 1960s — from 13 percent to more than 29 percent.

The report warned there was an ‘increased risk of adverse mental health’ for those living alone — adding that people living alone were 64 percent more likely to have symptoms of depression than those who live with others.

Researchers warn the rates may be driving the sense of despair and high rates of mental health problems across the US.

The above graph shows how the number of people living alone in the US has gradually shifted upward since the 1960s. Experts say this is the ‘biggest demographic change in a century’

The above shows adults aged 45 to 64 years old were most likely to be living alone. Estimates are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The above shows adults aged 45 to 64 years old were most likely to be living alone. Estimates are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Experts have called the shift the ‘biggest demographic change in the last century’ — saying it is being driven by surging divorce rates and more economic independence among women.

For the report, researchers analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) — which interviews 100,000 Americans every year on their living standards, including whether they live alone.

They also found that middle-aged adults — aged between 45 and 64 years old — made up the largest proportion of adults living alone, followed by those aged 30 to 44 years.

At the other end of the scale, those aged 18 to 29 years old made up the smallest proportion of people living on their own.

Adults who lived alone were evenly split between men and women.

A total of 43.2 percent had an income at about 400 percent or more than the federal poverty level — which is set at $14,580 per year for single-person household.

They were also most likely to be from white ethnic backgrounds.

Results also showed people who lived on their own were more likely to report symptoms of depression.

Among this group, 6.4 percent said they were experiencing depressive emotions — compared to 4.1 percent among those who live with others.

Middle-aged adults — those aged 45 to 64 years old — who lived alone had the highest proportion reporting feelings of depression, at nine percent.

For comparison, among those in this age group who lived with others 3.9 percent said they were experiencing symptoms of depression.

Dr Laryssa Mykyta, who heads up the Census Bureau’s health and disability statistics branch and wrote the report, said: ‘Previous research found increased risk of adverse mental health among older adults who lived with other relatives and nonrelatives compared with those who lived with a partner or spouse.’

Maine was deemed the loneliest state, followed closely by Florida and Ohio. Meanwhile, Utah was the least lonely state, with Alaska and Hawaii close behind

Maine was deemed the loneliest state, followed closely by Florida and Ohio. Meanwhile, Utah was the least lonely state, with Alaska and Hawaii close behind

Living in social isolation could be as bad for your health as nearly a pack of cigarettes daily

Living in social isolation could be as bad for your health as nearly a pack of cigarettes daily 

This graph highlights how those who live alone and are aged between 45 and 64 years old are most likely to report feelings of depression

This graph highlights how those who live alone and are aged between 45 and 64 years old are most likely to report feelings of depression

She added: ‘Adults living alone may differ in terms of the reasons for living alone.

‘Some people may choose to live alone, while others may live alone due to the death of a spouse or partner or family dissolution.

‘Those living with others may differ by whom they live with.

‘Some people may live with a spouse or partner, while others may live with other relatives or with non-relatives.’

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