Many Americans are anticipating a lonely holiday season

Jamie BallardData Journalist
December 14, 2020, 8:00 PM UTC

The holiday season is usually thought of as festive and family-oriented, but it can be lonely for some people – especially in 2020.  

Even before the holidays hit, many Americans have reported feeling lonely this past year. About three-quarters (76%) of Americans say they’ve felt lonely at least occasionally. Of these, 7% say they “always” feel lonely, while 20% say they have “often” felt lonely. Millennials (34%) are more likely than members of Generation X (26%) and Baby Boomers (19%) to say they’ve always or often felt lonely over the last year.  

Among those who have felt at all lonely during the last year, 42% say they typically feel more lonely than usual during the holiday season. A nearly-equal number (43%) say that they think this holiday season specifically will be more lonely than usual.  

Those who describe themselves as having been “always” or “often” lonely during this past year are especially likely (71%) to think they will feel particularly alone during the 2020 holiday season.  

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most common reason people think the holiday season will be particularly isolating this year has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Among those who think they will feel lonelier this season, 66% say one of the reasons why is that they won’t able to spend time with loved ones because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Far fewer (16%) say that someone they usually celebrate the holidays with has passed away, and 15% say they won’t be spending time with loved ones for logistical reasons unrelated to the pandemic.  

See full results here.  

Methodology: 1,200 US adults were surveyed through YouGov Direct on December 7, 2020. Data is weighted on age, gender, education level, political affiliation, and ethnicity to be nationally representative of adults in the United States. The margin of error is approximately 3.8% for the overall sample. 

Image: Gender Spectrum Collection