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Americans Are Choosing To Be Alone
and it is having severe consequences on mental & social health
By Bryce Ward, an economist and the founder of ABMJ Consulting
“Americans 15 and older are spending a lot more time alone than they did in 2013. The trend started before the pandemic.”
Spending less time with friends is not a best practice by most standards, and it might contribute to other troubling social trends — isolation, worsening mental health (particularly among adolescents), rising aggressive behavior and violent crime.
American teenager spent approximately 11 fewer hours with friends each week in 2021 (a 64 percent decline) and 12 additional hours alone (a 48 percent increase).
The potential harms of these trends are sufficient to demand that Americans devote some resources to understanding and reversing them.
According to the American Medical Association, “More than 35 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality as well as ongoing concerns for those with a mental illness or substance use disorder in counties and other areas within the state.”
Young people may be the least likely to get sick from COVID, but the impact of lockdowns and school closures has created an alarming spike in suicides among children and teens.