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BBC Religion Loneliness Survey

ComRes interviewed 2,598 English adults by telephone between 13th and 29th September 2013. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables can be found at


Date Published: 17 Oct 2013

Categories: Health | Public and communities | Social | UK



Half of English adults say they experience loneliness according to an opinion poll commissioned for this year’s BBC Radio 2 Faith in the World Week. 

The findings of the ComRes survey also show that people who have a religious faith are more likely than those with no faith to say they are experiencing greater levels of loneliness than they did ten years ago. 

The annual Faith in the World Week will be launched this Sunday (October 20) on Radio 2 by presenter Clare Balding in her weekly show Clare Balding on Good Morning Sunday. 

As part of the range of programming and content focussed around Living Alone Well, Clare will be announcing the results of a specially commissioned ComRes poll by BBC Local Radio on loneliness in England. The survey found that: 

·         1 in 5 English people (22%) say they feel more lonely now that they did 10 years ago

·         1 in 8 (12%) who live alone say they feel lonely regularly or all the time

·         More than half of people aged 65 and over live alone (54%) - compared to only 10% of 18-24-year-olds

·         Half of English people say they feel lonely at times. 48% say they feel lonely either all the time, regularly, sometimes or rarely. 

Clare will also be joined by singer-songwriter Katie Melua, Kate Wharton, author of ‘Single-minded – Being Single, Whole and Living Life to the Full.  There will also be drop-ins from Bryn Terfel and English writer, dub poet and Rastafarian Benjamin Zephaniah.  

The Faith In The World Week theme for this year - Living Alone Well - will examine the upsides and downsides for those living alone, asking whether they relish the space and freedom living alone brings or whether living alone means feeling isolated and lonely and how they can find ways to cope with that. 

More than a third of British adults now live on their own. This is a major change in the social landscape. According to the 2013 General Household Survey [AL1] the percentage households with just one person living in them has doubled since 1973. 

The Radio 2 Faith in the World website ( will contain a unique collection of true life stories gathered by the 39 BBC local radio stations in England. Specially recorded for Faith in the World Week these heartfelt stories will bring the range of experiences of living alone to light.  The website also contains an e-booklet with tips on how to live alone well, as part of this Radio 2 social action campaign. 

As part of the station’s programming Hardeep Singh Kohli will present a documentary looking at the tension between solo-living and religious tradition. Living Alone Well (Tuesday 22 October, BBC Radio 2) will be asking whether religion helps the lonely or whether its emphasis on marriage makes things worse for those who live alone. Do they feel excluded or pressured by religious tradition to wed? Are churches, synagogues and mosques too family-oriented? Or for those looking for like-minded people and community - is the local place of worship a good starting point to get to know people and get involved? 

Other Radio 2 shows taking part in Faith In The World Week will include the Breakfast Show, Jeremy Vine and Simon Mayo.  

The Breakfast Show which is being presented by Patrick Kielty that week (October 21-25) will look at solo sports each day and will also feature special editions of Pause for Thought. 

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday (October 21, 23 and 25) Jeremy Vine will be looking at listeners who live alone and have the radio as their main companion, the power of introverts and a big special on the problem of loneliness. 

And the Drivetime show with Simon Mayo will be featuring special content in the business slots – looking at the growth of dating websites and buying a house on your own among a whole raft of other subjects. 

The full ComRes survey findings are attached in a separate document. For further information about the survey: 

For more information please contact:

Katharine Peacock

Managing Director

0207 871 8660

[email protected] 


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