A new study aims to help pastors and churches identify demographically where loneliness tends to hit most. Researchers said the study is crucial because the Church is in the best position to help.
By CV Outreach
Former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy raised the alarm in 2017 on the significant health risks of loneliness, an epidemic affecting more than 40 percent of adults. CV Outreach, an organization that empowers churches to use digital technology to intersect with those far from God, recently released research identifying the cities, states, gender and age most likely to be lonely.
Topping the list of the U.S.’s loneliest cities is Las Vegas, followed closely by Washington, D.C. and Denver. All three cities have a loneliness rate triple the national average. Los Angeles also makes the list of loneliest cities.
“In the past several years, we as a society have begun to understand the seriousness of loneliness to not only our emotional state, but also our physical health,” said Nick Runyon, executive director of CV Outreach. “Through this study, we hope to provide useful information to church leaders so they can be aware of and respond to the lonely in their communities.”
Beyond geographical location, the CV Outreach study identifies that women are more likely than men to suffer from loneliness, and millennials are at a significantly higher risk of loneliness than any other age group. Though millennials make up just 21 percent of the total population, they are more than 50 percent of the lonely population.
The study also explores common online behavior of a lonely person. For example, by analyzing Google searches, researchers were able to identify common keywords that accompany a search for loneliness help. These include life, husband, time, feel and marriage.
“This data shows us that loneliness often surfaces not as a core issue, but as an underlying symptom of another, more immediate issue such as marriage or relationship issues, existential struggles or financial difficulties,” said Chad Hugghins, author of the study and content and marketing director for CV Outreach. “Given individuals often turn to the church for help with their struggles, church leaders should be looking for signs of loneliness as well.”
In addition to the study, CV Outreach provides insight into how individual Christians can reach the lonely such as exhibiting healthy online behavior and intentionally getting to know your neighbors. Church bodies can respond by speaking publicly about loneliness and connecting with people online. To see the full study, visit http://info.cvoutreach.com/loneliness.
About CV Outreach
Launched in 2016 as part of CV Global, an international evangelism ministry with the goal of touching 1 billion people with the Gospel, CV Outreach seeks to empower pastors and church leaders to utilize social media and digital advertising to intersect with individuals who are far from God. Visit cvoutreach.com for more information.