You Gotta Have Friends

A study finds that Americans are getting lonelier

Americans are more socially isolated today than we were barely two decades ago. The latest evidence of that comes from a topflight team of sociologists who, after comparing national surveys in 1985 and 2004, report a one-third drop in the number of people with whom the average American can discuss "important matters."

That startling report raises four questions: 1) Is it true? 2) Why has it happened? 3) Does it really matter? And 4) if so, what can we do about it?

I confess a personal stake in the first question. Six years ago in a book I wrote called Bowling Alone,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!