Loneliness City Index 2024: Germany

Loneliness City Index 2024: Germany

by Choice - June 24, 2024
Loneliness City Index 2024: Germany


According to scientific studies, the number of people affected by loneliness has risen sharply in recent years. The lockdown restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic in particular have led to a sharp rise in loneliness. But what is the current situation? Where in Germany do people suffer the most from loneliness - and why? The Loneliness City Index 2024 from CHOICE provides answers to these questions.

Definition: What is loneliness?

Many different definitions of loneliness coexist in the social sciences. However, the most frequently cited is that of Peplau and Perlman (1982). They describe loneliness as "the unpleasant experience that occurs when a person's network of social relations is deficient in some important way, either quantitatively or qualitatively".

At the heart of this theory are two components that are compared with each other: the desired vs. the actual social relationships. If we assume that all people have a basic need for social relationships, loneliness can be characterized as the absence of a "network of social relations". The fact that it can take various forms is illustrated by the following list:

Emotional loneliness: Lack of a close, intimate bond or a person you can trust and who validates you as a person.

Social loneliness: Lack of good relationships with friends or family or lack of a larger social network.

Collective loneliness: Lack of belonging to a larger group or community.

Physical loneliness: Lack of physical closeness.

These four forms serve as the basis for the CHOICE Loneliness City Index 2024.

Our approach

To investigate loneliness in Germany's largest cities, we conducted a comprehensive socio-demographic analysis based on current scientific studies, surveys and statistical data, surveys and statistical data. We also considered various factors that influence loneliness locally, including the number of single people, divorces vs. marriages, life satisfaction, life expectancy, access to sports and entertainment, intimacy and health services.

Results: Tell me where you live, ...

People experience loneliness in all regions of Germany - but not to the same extent. As our study shows, there are cities and regions that are more affected by loneliness than others. A comparison of the results:

CHOICE Loneliness City Index 2024 for Germany

A PDF version of the CHOICE Loneliness City Index 2024 for Germany can be downloaded here.

Cities with increased loneliness

According to our survey, Duisburg is the city in which people are most affected by loneliness (only 23.7 out of a possible 100 points). The city in the Ruhr region achieved the lowest scores in the categories of entertainment, intimacy and health in particular. And: In no other city that we examined in the index are marriages divorced more frequently.

In 2nd place is Leipzig (31.3 points). Admittedly, we were surprised that the city in eastern Germany came so high up in our index, as it is - actually - known for its young, hip lifestyle. Nevertheless, it scores well below average compared to other major cities in the country - especially when it comes to structural issues such as the proportion of single people, the number of divorces and local healthcare.

With Dresden (32.9 points), third place in our loneliness ranking also goes to eastern Germany. This suggests that eastern German regions are perhaps generally more affected by loneliness.

Arik Brückner, founder of CHOICE, explains: "The high levels of loneliness in cities such as Duisburg. Leipzig and Dresden clearly show that structural factors are decisive for the well-being of local people. In these regions, it would be important and necessary to invest in community-building measures and show people how they can escape loneliness. This is where the concept of paid companionship as an intervention mechanism for loneliness according to John T. Cacioppo, the founder of social neuroscience."

Cities with low levels of loneliness

The fact that Cologne (59.4) is in last place in our ranking is good news for the city in this case. Based on our indicators, comparatively few people are affected by loneliness here. The Rhine metropolis impresses above all with its wide range of sports and entertainment options and good healthcare. In this cosmopolitan carnival and LGBTIQ stronghold, the fact that physical closeness (intimacy) can also be experienced here should come as a surprise to few.

In Frankfurt am Main (58.6) and Stuttgart (54.6), too, fewer people are affected by loneliness overall. Frankfurt shows top values in almost all categories - and: In no other city do people have a higher level of life satisfaction. Stuttgart, on the other hand, impresses above all with a comparatively high life expectancy (82.43 years) and a moderate divorce rate. The health services in both cities are also satisfactory.

Arik Brückner assesses the good performance of these cities as follows: "The low levels of loneliness in Cologne, Frankfurt and Stuttgart show that a strong social network and a wide range of entertainment and leisure activities can make a big difference. These cities are real role models for how an open, inclusive culture can increase the well-being of all residents."

Breaking the vicious circle of hypervigilance

Over 30% of the world's population suffers from loneliness. The CHOICE Loneliness City Index 2024 shows: In Germany, too, loneliness is a phenomenon that affects society as a whole, although the extent of this varies from region to region. Alongside Duisburg, the east of the country seems to be particularly affected by structures that promote loneliness: Leipzig and Dresden are two eastern German cities that feature high up in our ranking.

How to counter the phenomenon? Where to start? Arik Brückner explains: "New, modern approaches are needed to tackle the global problem of loneliness. Technology can help in this respect. As a booking platform for paid companionship, we can ensure that loneliness is no longer a taboo subject and that affected people can easily and quickly obtain companionship as part of their personal wellness as a service. This also supports the process of being able to socialize independently again and break the vicious circle of hypervigilance caused by loneliness."

One thing is clear: loneliness is a complex phenomenon with many different causes. To counter it, it is necessary to enable shared experiences - both locally and in the digital space. As a platform for paid companionship, CHOICE plays an important role in this context by offering people an alternative to conventional channels.


Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (2022): Strategy against loneliness.

Peplau, L. A., & Perlman, D. (1982). Perspectives on loneliness.

Luhmann (2022). Definition and forms of loneliness.

German Social Association (2020). Expert opinion on loneliness.

Loneliness, William Patrick & John T. Cacioppo, August 2008

Methodology for the "Loneliness City Index 2024"

In order to determine which German cities are most affected by loneliness, the 20 largest cities in the country were analyzed for various factors. These include the number of single people, divorces and marriages as well as data on life satisfaction and life expectancy of the local population. The number of communal meeting places, entertainment and intimacy opportunities were also examined. The topic of health also plays an important role in the study. For this purpose, the number of psychotherapeutic consultations and spa & wellness facilities was determined and the study was completed on 30.05.2024.

Factors, definitions and sources

Field of investigation 1: Structural

Single people: Information on the number of single people was taken from local daily newspapers.

Divorces / marriages: Information on marriages and divorces was taken from local daily newspapers and information from the Federal Statistical Office.

Life satisfaction: The information on life satisfaction comes from the report "Loneliness" by the Chair of Sociology of Rural Areas for the German Social Association.

Life expectancy: The information on life expectancy comes from the Wikipedia article "List of rural districts by life expectancy".

Field of investigation 2: Sport

Yoga: Information on the number of yoga studios was taken from the international

recommendation portal Yelp.

Sports clubs: Information on the number of local sports clubs is an estimate created using OpenAI.

Research field 3: Entertainment

Cinema: Information on the number of cinemas was taken from the international recommendation portal


LGBTIQ bars: Information on the number of LGBTIQ bars was taken from the international recommendation portal Yelp.

Senior citizens' meeting places: Information on the number of senior meeting places was taken from the international recommendation portal Yelp.

Research field 4: Intimacy

Swinger clubs: Information on the number of swinger clubs was taken from the Joyclub swinger club database. A radius of location + 10km was selected.

Sex-positive groups: Information on the number of sex-positive groups was taken from the group database of the fetish community Fetlife.

Research field 5: Health

Spa & wellness: Information about spa & wellness offers was taken from the international

recommendation portal Yelp.

Psychotherapeutic practices: Information on the number of psychotherapeutic practices and facilities was taken from the medical associations of the federal states.

Calculation and scoring

In order to calculate a ranking, all results of the influencing factors examined were standardized on a point scale from 0 to 100, taking into account the respective population sizes (i.e. all results were divided by the total population, creating a per capita score). The city that scored best in the respective influencing factor received a score of 10. The city that scored worst in the respective influencing factor received a score of 0. All other cities were ranked in between according to their score. Finally, all the points were added together to produce the final ranking.

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