Loneliness NZ

Structural changes in the workforce driving loneliness

The structural changes are general trends across the New Zealand workforce. Structural changes in the workforce increasing loneliness include increasing affluence, dual incomes, rising income inequality, more working from home, and greater youth unemployment.


With increasing affluence, we have been able – as a society – to live with fewer people per household.  In particular, we have been able to afford many people to live by themselves. But with more people living by themselves, there is a greater risk of loneliness across society.

Dual income

To make ends meet in today’s society, it is frequently required for both spouses to work – and work long hours.  This leaves less time for them to build social connections with each other, with their children, with their friends, and with the local community.

Income inequality

People, especially in New Zealand, have a tendency to like themselves to be at least equal with others.  When there is greater income equality, those who are financially struggling may withdraw from others who are not so financially struggling.

Work from home

Working from home reduces the social connection with others outside of the home.  This increases the risk of loneliness.


In the last twelve months, the New Zealand youth unemployment rate has increased from 11.2% to 12.4%.  Youth who are unemployed, not in the workforce, and not training, are at greater risk of poor self esteem, isolation, and loneliness.

Other societal drivers of loneliness

To explore other societal drivers of loneliness, please click the coloured box of interest.