The topic of loneliness is increasingly becoming the focus of politics and science. In June 2022, Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) gave the go-ahead for a strategy against loneliness. The aim is to shed more light on the topic in Germany and to counter loneliness more effectively, explains Axel Weber from the Loneliness Network (KNE), which provides scientific support to the ministry.
A study by the KNE states that before the Covid-19 pandemic, around 14 percent of people in Germany were lonely. During the pandemic, the proportion rose to 42 percent in 2021. However, all people who stated that they felt lonely at least sometimes were counted.
A minority feels really permanently lonely. Most people feel safe, says loneliness researcher Maike Luhmann from the Ruhr University in Bochum. She assumes that around five percent of the population are chronically lonely.
It is not yet known how the number of lonely people has developed since the corona pandemic. Statistics are generally difficult. There is no measurable definition. In science, loneliness is defined as a condition in which social relationships do not meet people’s expectations. This point is somewhere different for each person, according to Luhmann.