We’re heartened to find loneliness rates are lower than expected. But to build stronger communities we must look closer at why some of us feel less connected.
What we asked
Personal connections bring meaning to our lives. Our survey explored the state of our personal relationships, and searched for insights into who feels connected and how residents can develop meaningful relationships with each other.
In 2012, our survey revealed that one-quarter of respondents reported spending more time alone than they would like. But is finding yourself alone the same as feeling lonely? In 2017, we asked people to tell us more about how often they feel lonely, and how satisfied they feel with the amount of time they spend alone.
We were curious if the perception that it is difficult to make new friends in Metro Vancouver had shifted over time, and wanted to know more about the obstacles people identify when building friendships. We also wanted to better understand the strength of our existing connections, and what people think would make it easier to make new friends.
In an age of digital connections, we were curious what role technology plays in our ability to form deeper connections. We asked people to tell us how they prefer to connect with each other, and if they feel spending too much time with technology takes them away from in-person relationships.
What we heard
Fewer than one-in-five Metro Vancouver residents experience loneliness often, and the overwhelming majority have someone to depend on.
Overall, people report much lower rates of loneliness than expected – only 14% report feeling lonely ‘often or ‘almost always’. The results for spending time alone are similar. The majority of people (57%) feel they are spending the amount of time alone they would like, while 18% would actually prefer to spend time alone more often.
Metro Vancouver can still be a difficult place to make new friends, but an overwhelming majority have someone to depend on.
While 44% of people report that making new friends is easy, half (50%) find it difficult. An overwhelming majority of Metro Vancouver residents – 91% – agree that there are people they can depend on to help them. In addition, 86% report that their close relationships provide a sense of emotional security and wellbeing.