It is a lucky person who finds affordable housing close to a job that makes them enough money to have spare time to make new friends, find new lovers and to actually explore what the local community might offerby Mark Brown / May 2, 2018 / Leave a comment
When we are asked to picture who is most likely to be lonely, we seldom picture young people taking their first independent steps in the world. Surely being young is about fun, friendship, freedom: going out and taking life by the scruff of the neck?
Apparently not. Despite accusations of selfish hedonism and feckless self-indulgence—where failing to get on the property ladder is a result of too many avocados—the endless treadmill of making the rent each month isn’t all fun and games. According to new Office of National Statistics research, Generation Rent is getting lonelier: younger people who rent report feeling lonely more often than older people who are settled and live in homes they own.
Using data taken from the 2016 to 2017 Community Life Survey, the ONS identified three groups of people as being most at risk of loneliness: widowed older homeowners living alone with long-term health conditions; unmarried, middle-agers with long-term health conditions; and younger renters with little trust and sense of belonging to their area. To give an idea of scale, 46 percent of people aged 25 to 34 rent from a private landlord. In 2016 to 2017 five percent of adults in England said they were lonely “often” or “always.” Women said they felt lonely more often than men
The survey found young people were likely to be in paid work and, while they tended to identify their marital status as single, just over half were cohabiting. Yet the researchers found 61 percent of young renters aged between 16 and 34 reported they felt lonely occasionally or more frequently, compared with 46 percent of the overall sample.
The explanation may lie in how this younger generation relates not only to their housemates, partner or colleagues, but the place they live. Only 25 percent of them felt they could trust their neighbours, 70 percent of them lived in the 50 percent of most deprived areas or neighbourhoods and 55 percent said they belonged to their neighbourhood “not very strongly” or “not at all.”
One of the defining experiences of Generation Rent is the feeling of having somewhere to live but never really living there. The shared house or poky flat becomes a place only seen in darkness: a storage space with a bed;…