Loneliness: Lockdown hits young people hardest

youth loneliness

The incidence of prolonged loneliness for youth increased significantly during the lockdown.

For youth aged 15-24 years (General Social Survey) or aged 18-24 years (other surveys), the incidence of prolonged loneliness increased from 5.8% of youth before lockdown to about 20.8% during the lockdown.

It fell slightly to 17.0% post-lockdown.

These are the findings of the Loneliness New Zealand Charitable Trust’s report written by Dr Spencer Scoular.

Put another way, before lockdown 1 in 17 youth experienced prolonged loneliness, whereas during lockdown this increased to 1 in 5 youth and post-lockdown 1 in 6 youth.

Solo parents and the unemployed are among other groups most affected by loneliness brought on by Covid-19.

Overall prolonged loneliness increased from 3.5 percent of the New Zealand adult population before lockdown to about 10.6 percent during the lockdown, before slightly falling to 8.7 percent post-lockdown.

While the country grappled with higher unemployment, lower incomes, border restrictions, and working from home, meaningful connections would have been even harder to develop and sustain, Socular said.

This would increase people’s risk of prolonged loneliness and poor wellbeing.

Youth Unemployment
Young people have been hit hardest by job losses in that time, with the number of people aged 18 to 24 on Jobseeker Support increasing by 66 per cent, a Salvation Army report found.

Māori and Pasifika workers have been generally more affected by job losses, with more than half of those households left in financial difficulty during the lockdown period.

The Salvation Army has called for “coherent and fair welfare support” based on “real measures on income adequacy” after saying the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment had highlighted “inadequate benefit levels.”

The Salvation Army is calling for coherent and fair welfare support that is based on real measures of income adequacy and a focus on keeping people and especially children out of poverty.

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News category: New Zealand.

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