Social Isolation & Loneliness: What’s the Difference?

Social Isolation

The objective experience of having few or infrequent social connections.


The subjective and distressing feeling of being alone or isolated, often defined as the difference between actual and desired level of social connection.

Social Connection

The ways that people can be physically, emotionally, and culturally connected to others.

Percent of older adults live alone

Percent of adults age 45+ who report feeling lonely

Percent increased risk of early death due to feeling lonely

Percent of individuals with disabilities that lack social support also report dissatisfaction with life