Speed Reads

is there anybody out there

Most Americans are lonely, and young people are the loneliest, new study says

Social media platforms may be able to connect the world, but they've yet to eliminate existential angst.

A nationwide study published Tuesday found that nearly 50 percent of respondents feel lonely or left out. The study, conducted by the health insurer Cigna, additionally found that younger generations are likely to say they feel isolated, reports NPR.

Cigna surveyed American adults online, using a tool developed by the University of California, Los Angeles, called the Loneliness Scale. The tool considers people who score between 20 and 80 on the scale to be lonely, and the survey found that the average score for adults in the U.S. was 44. The higher the score, the more lonely an individual was perceived to be. The results mean that "most Americans are considered lonely," the study says.

But that score goes up as age goes down: Generation Z, those born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, scored 48.3 on the scale. Millennials, born between 1980 and 1994, scored 45.3, reports NPR. Meanwhile, baby boomers scored 42.4 and The Greatest Generation, those aged 72 and older, scored 38.6. Researchers didn't tie loneliness to social media use, but the survey did find that daily in-person social interactions led to feeling less lonely.

As a whole, 54 percent of respondents said they felt that "no one knows them well,” while 56 percent feel like the people around them "are not necessarily with them." Forty percent said they felt isolated and that they lacked meaningful relationships.

Cigna surveyed 20,096 American adults online from Feb. 21-March 6. The poll has a margin of error of 0.8 percentage points. Read more at NPR.