Health and Welfare Policy Forum

Social Isolation in Different Age Groups after the Pandemic and Its Policy Implications

  • Author

    Kim, Seonga, Noh, Hyun-ju

  • Page


  • PubDate

    2024. 03.

  • Language


This article aims to examine how the prevalence of social isolation changed in people of different life stages following the Covid-19 pandemic and explore its policy implications. Our analysis of Statistics Korea’s social survey revealed that during the pandemic, a greater number of individuals experienced social isolation, defined here as being without social connections and lacking a social support network. In 2023, with the impact of the pandemic having subsided, the extent to which the prevalence of social isolation changed varied depending on life stage. The proportion of socially isolated youth decreased somewhat from 2021 but not quite to its pre-pandemic level. While the prevalence of social isolation among older adults declined to its pre-pandemic level in 2023, the proportion of those among the middle-aged who saw themselves as socially isolated increased, if anything, compared to 2021. This article considers public support programs as a means that, if delivered adequately and flexibly to people of different life stages―adolescents living in self-chosen seclusion, isolated and secluded youth, middle-aged people identified as at risk of ‘lonely death’, and older adults living alone― can fill in where they lack a social support network to rely on.


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