A sad survey found New York among the states with the highest percentage of residents who will have no one to celebrate the holidays with.

Epidemic of Loneliness

A recent study found that more than a third of adults 45 or older experience loneliness, with nearly a quarter of adults 65 or older considered socially isolated.

The research cited in the report shows this has been happening even before the COVID-19 pandemic began.  Increases in the risk of anxiety, depression, heart disease, dementia and stroke were also linked to the lack of social connection.

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pixelshot/Canva Pro
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Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, is raising alarm about an "epidemic of loneliness and isolation" and warned a lack of connection in the U.S. "increases the risk for premature death to more than 60-percent."

The Surgeon General said the U.S. has "an obligation to make the same investments in addressing social connection that we have made in addressing tobacco use, obesity and the addiction crisis."

Here in New York State, about 20 percent of residents will feel especially alone when they wake up on Christmas morning.

Heartbreaking New Survey of Residents

Amid growing concern about this trend, Online-Solitaire.com conducted a survey of 4,000 respondents dwelling in single-person households, aiming to understand the prevalence of solitary Christmases. Alarmingly, the survey illuminated that a staggering 19 million people across the continental U.S. are preparing to spend Christmas in solitude this year.

Oregon had the highest share of solitary residents, with an estimated 45 percent of its population facing a lonely Christmas.

Here in the Empire State, more than 1 million residents are expected to spend the holidays alone. About 1 in 5 respondents to the poll admitted that they have nowhere to go on Christmas, which amounts to 1,375,646 people.

That's over a million-and-a-quarter residents who won't be gathering with their family to enjoy a warm meal and sharing presents.

You can see how New York compared with the other 50 states below.

Created by Online-Solitaire • Viewlarger version

 

Other Findings

Overall, Christmas appears to be the most challenging day of the calendar year for these people. Birthdays were found to be the second-worst day for these people, with 22 percent of all respondents admitting they have no one to help them blow out their candles.

Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve tied in third place with 11 percent of respondents saying they will spend the day in solidarity.

Thanksgiving was in fourth with 10 percent of respondents saying they spent the holiday alone while Easter Sunday rounded out the top 5 with two percent of the vote.

The eye-opening research also asked these people how they plan on coping with loneliness during these days and over 1 in four respondents admitted they'll turn to online gaming to pass the time.

Nineteen percent said they'll binge movies while 15 percent said they'll engage in hobbies. Other popular distractions include cooking (15%), volunteering (11%), Reading (8%), and participating in online communities with six percent.

A Silver Lining

The survey didn't just speak to those suffering from loneliness, as the pool reached people of all walks of life and popularity. Roughly 4,000 adults living in one person households, based on age, gender, and geography, participated in the poll.

The poll also found a resounding display of community spirit with 88% of those surveyed, who admit they will be with family, saying they would invite a neighbor known to be alone to join them for Christmas.

Keeler Christmas dinner with Gallagher. Photo by Bill Keeler / TSM)
Keeler Christmas dinner with Gallagher. Photo by Bill Keeler / TSM
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So, if there is someone you think will be spending the holidays looking at their phone and wishing someone would call them, you might want to extend an invitation to let that person know that someone cares for them and wouldn't mind their company.

Additionally, if you wish to bring comfort to those who are struggling to get back onto their feet this holiday season, you can adopt a Central New York resident in need via the ongoing Winter Wishes campaign.

Read More: Help Central New York Residents With 'Winter Wishes'

WIBX has teamed with the Utica Rescue Mission to help those in need this Christmas season. Helping out is easy. Shop the Rescue Mission's Amazon Wish List or shop locally and deliver gifts to the Utica Rescue Mission in person.

You can read more about the loneliness study HERE.

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