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This paper presents a novel approach of predicting the prevalence of loneliness among older people across small areas in a country.

Age UK Research has analysed the largest official data set on ageing - the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) - and found the factors associated with being often lonely. The team, led by Dr Marcus Green and Professor José Iparraguirre, were able to identify and weight all the significant factors to produce an index which reflects the risk of people aged 65 and over in England being often lonely.

Key Findings

  • Being in poor health was by far the biggest factor associated with chronic loneliness
  • The next most important were being widowed and living alone.
  • Some factors normally assumed to be associated with loneliness, such as area deprivation, poverty and living in a rural area, proved not to be significant.

Predicting the prevalence of loneliness at older ages

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The Age UK research has since been adapted to make use of the results of the latest Census and applied to local and neighbourhood by the Office for National Statistics. Published results for all areas in England are available on the ONS website.

Further information

Related research

For more information: Call Age UK on: 0800 169 8787

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