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How Homes and Neighborhoods Are Making Millennials and Gen Z Lonelier


How Homes and Neighborhoods Are Making Millennials and Gen Z Lonelier

The housing affordability crisis and design of American homes and neighborhoods may be hampering community connection and exacerbating the loneliness epidemic

May 1, 2023
Isolated house means lonely people
Image: primopiano / stock.adobe.com

Millennials and Gen Z feel lonely much more often than their Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts, according to public opinion and data company YouGov. The housing affordability crisis is partly to blame, with Millennials and Gen Zers being priced out of places that could help them stave off loneliness. And while social media is most commonly cited as the culprit for this rise in social isolation, the design of our homes and layout of our cities and car-centric neighborhoods is a contributing factor as well, Insider reports. 

"We need to think beyond just the individual," Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University and a leading loneliness researcher, told Insider. "We often neglect the built environment."

She added, "We assume that this is a personal issue, and it's up to the person to somehow either get the help they need or that we need to hurry and provide some kind of treatment or intervention for these people, when it's part of a larger system of how our communities are designed, how our policies and practices, how our environment is impacting this that makes it either easier or harder to connect with people."

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