Study examines social isolation in Metro Vancouver


30 per cent of young adults said they are ‘almost always’ alone

By Jake Wray, News Editor


Young adults and people from low-income households are more susceptible to loneliness than other demographics in Metro Vancouver, according to a new study.

The Vancouver Foundation, an organization that promotes community engagement, recently released its  —an online survey of 3,785 adults in Metro Vancouver that asked questions about loneliness, community participation, and digital socializing.

According to the report, 30 per cent of survey respondents age 18 to 24 said they are “almost always” or “often” alone, as did 38 per cent of adults from households with incomes under $20,000 per year, compared to an average of 14 per cent of respondents across all demographics. Those two demographics are also more likely to report spending more time alone than they would like, according to data from the survey. On the other hand, 57 per cent of respondents said they are happy with the amount of time they spend alone, while 18 per cent said they would like to spend more time alone.

Kevin McCort, CEO and president of the Vancouver Foundation, said in a press release that while some people feel loneliness more than others, the report also found that people are willing to engage with their communities.

“Our new findings show that while everyone experiences the same barriers to forging strong connections—work, school, financial constraints, and time pressure all play a role—some experience this more acutely,” McCort said in the press release. “But what’s encouraging to see is how open residents are to coming together as a community—even more so among those who have lived here for a shorter period of time.”

Approximately 75 per cent of respondents attempt to better their community with activities such as shovelling snow and picking up litter. Conversely, the study found a significant decrease in participation with “traditional” community activities, compared to a similar study conducted by the Vancouver Foundation in 2012. 58 per cent of respondents in the 2017 survey said they visited their local library, down from 83 per cent in 2012. 22 per cent of respondents in the 2017 survey said they attended religious services, down from 40 per cent in 2012.

The study also examined how people use digital tools to socialize. 60 per cent of participants said they prefer socializing in person instead of online, and 17 per cent said they spend too much time online, to the detriment of their in-person relationships.


The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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