Mar 6, 2024 - News

Lonely America

Share of people who experienced feelings of depression, by living arrangement
Data: National Health Interview Survey; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Living alone is linked to higher rates of self-reported depression than living with others, Axios' Carly Mallenbaum reports.

Why it matters: It's clear — even to Elmo — that many Americans are having a hard time and that the loneliness epidemic has become a major threat to their wellbeing.

By the numbers: 16% of U.S. adults lived alone in 2021, with 6.4% of them reporting depression. That's compared with 4.1% of those who live with others — for both men and women, across most race and family income groups, according to the CDC.

  • Adults who say they live alone and rarely or never receive emotional or social support were almost twice as likely to say they have feelings of depression, compared with those who never or rarely receive support but live with others.
  • In the 45-64 age group, there was a significant disparity: 9% of people who lived alone compared with 3.9% of people who lived with others reported depressive feelings.

Zoom in: Prevention of death by suicide in Michigan remains a top public health priority, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' most recent annual report from the state's suicide prevention commission.

What we're watching: The share of single-person households keeps increasing — from 13.6% in 1962 to 28.9% in 2022, according to CDC data.

💭 Sam's thought bubble: I live alone and find that walking outside — especially when it's 70 degrees in March — never hurts.


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