The survey released by by ARD-Deutschlandtrend on Friday found that 51 percent of Germans think that loneliness is a “big problem”, while a further 17 percent went further in naming it a “very big problem”.
Roughly a quarter (23 percent) said it was only a small problem. Some six percent of the 1,038 respondents said it was not a problem.
Women were more likely than men to be concerned about loneliness, with three quarters of female respondents seeing it as a big or very big problem, against 61 percent of men.
But people generally think that social isolation is a personal issue rather than something that should be dealt with by politicians – 57 percent were of the opinion that loneliness doesn’t belong on the political agenda.
In a recent study of 16,000 Germans, psychologist Maike Luhmann found elevated levels of loneliness at the age of 30 due to it being a transition time in life, and – as traditionally thought – in the elderly.
Voices calling for more political action against social isolation have been growing louder in Germany in recent months.
In light of the UK announcing in January that it would establish a government post to combat loneliness, the Social Democrats’ health expert Karl Lauterbach called for similar action in the Bundesrepublik.
Lauterbach said that loneliness is “as bad for the health of people over 60 as smoking is” and called for the Ministry of Health to appoint someone to combat it.
Christian Democrat (CDU) families spokesman Marcus Weinberg called in January for “a removal of taboos” on the subject “so that lonely people have a voice and loneliness doesn't remain a dirty issue.”