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Gender, Loneliness and Happiness during COVID-19


  • Lepinteur, Anthony
  • Clark, Andrew E.
  • Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada
  • Piper, Alan
  • Schröder, Carsten
  • D’Ambrosio, Conchita


We analyse a measure of loneliness from a representative sample of German individuals interviewed in both 2017 and at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Both men and women felt lonelier during the COVID-19 pandemic than they did in 2017. The pandemic more than doubled the gender loneliness gap: women were lonelier than men in 2017, and the 2017-2020 rise in loneliness was far larger for women. This rise is mirrored in life-satisfaction scores. Men’s life satisfaction changed only little between 2017 and 2020; yet that of women fell dramatically, and sufficiently so to produce a female penalty in life satisfaction. We estimate that almost all of this female penalty is explained by the disproportionate rise in loneliness for women during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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  • Lepinteur, Anthony & Clark, Andrew E. & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Piper, Alan & Schröder, Carsten & D’Ambrosio, Conchita, 2022. "Gender, Loneliness and Happiness during COVID-19," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 2210, CEPREMAP.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpm:docweb:2210

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2022. "Pandemic Policy and Life Satisfaction in Europe," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 68(2), pages 393-408, June.
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    14. George Ward, 2020. "Happiness and Voting: Evidence from Four Decades of Elections in Europe," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 64(3), pages 504-518, July.
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    2. Barjaková, Martina & Garnero, Andrea & d’Hombres, Béatrice, 2023. "Risk factors for loneliness: A literature review," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 334(C).

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    More about this item


    Loneliness; Life Satisfaction; Gender; COVID-19; SOEP;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

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