34% of Canadian poll respondents, particularly younger individuals, report feeling lonely

A new report is highlighting the risk of social isolation and the impact loneliness has on the aging population in Canada. Tina Yazdani speaks with an 81-year-old who has lived alone for 12 years.

By Nick Westoll

A new poll conducted just days before Christmas has found roughly a third of all respondents reporting feelings of loneliness and depression, and that number jumps among younger individuals.

The findings were contained in a poll released by Maru Public Opinion early Tuesday.

According to the poll, 34 per cent of respondents shared lonely and depressed feelings during the holidays while hoping they could have someone reach out to them to offer comfort – 11 per cent of participants said they “very much” felt that way.

When it comes to respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, 54 per cent of the group said they had these feelings with nearly one in five telling the polling company they “very much” felt that way. For those between 35 and 54, it dropped to 36 per cent.

On a broader level this holiday season, 44 per cent of participants who earned below $50,000 a year said they were lonelier and felt sadder. As income brackets escalated, the percentage dropped.

As for where people live, the highest number of respondents admitting negative feelings was in Ontario (40 per cent) followed by Alberta and Quebec at 32 per cent. The lowest was in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia at 27 per cent.

For those who reported acute feelings of loneliness and sadness, Alberta was top at 14 per cent while Ontario was at 13 per cent. Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada were at seven per cent.

Anyone experiencing crisis can call Canada’s Suicide Crisis Helpline by calling or texting 988. Assistance can also be accessed by calling Hope for Wellness at 1-855-242-3310 or Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.

The poll was conducted on Dec. 20 and 21 using 1,565 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada online panellists. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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