Searching for connection: Loneliness is a growing problem

Not yet a subscriber? Sign up free below.

Loneliness epidemic

Earlier this month, the Surgeon General — America’s “top doctor” —  Vivek Murthy, released an 81-page advisory report on the epidemic of loneliness and isolation, bringing attention to the concerning trend of social disconnection in America.

In a guest essay in the NYT, Murthy cites several studies that show how prolonged loneliness affects our physical and mental health negatively, reportedly akin to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, with higher risks of heart disease, stroke, anxiety, depression, and dementia.

While it's true that the percentage of Americans who report feeling lonely has fallen from the very peak of “pandemic loneliness”, the trend of increased disconnection arguably started years before lockdown. Indeed, the average time spent alone increased by 12 hours a month between 2003 and 2019, per the report.

Searching for friends

Although obviously not a perfect analysis, this trend can even be seen in data from Google, which shows a surge in searches for phrases like "where to make friends," "how to meet people," and "social groups near me”.

In battling this epidemic the SurgeonGeneral is calling for an improvement in "social infrastructure", such as sports teams, religious groups, libraries, and parks, where people can more easily connect. Maybe we should organize a meetup for chart-lovers?

Not yet a subscriber? Sign up free below.


Stories from this newsletter

Talk is cheap: Like everyone else, CEOs can't stop talking about AI
Searching for connection: Loneliness is a growing problem
Breaking the cycle: Peloton's core business ain't what it used to be, literally
We and our partners use cookies and similar technologies (“Cookies”) on our website and in our newsletters for performance, analytical or advertising purposes to ensure you have the best experience on our site and/or interaction with us. To find out more about the use of Cookies, see our Cookie Notice. Please click OK if you consent to our use of Cookies or click Manage my Preferences to manage your Cookie preferences.