Meta-Gallup State of Social Connections Study
Exploring human connection across diverse regions around the world
Connections with others are essential to people's well-being and mental health. But while academic literature has long validated the importance of human connections, there has been little research that provides representative, multinational data on how connected people feel and how they connect with others.
More governments, organizations and companies are turning their attention to understanding the nature and impact of people's social connections, driving heightened interest in, and need for, such research.
To address this gap, Gallup, Meta and a group of academic advisors collaborated to design and conduct the State of Social Connections study, which offers a first look at how social connections vary across different geographic regions.
Explore the report to learn:
- how connected and lonely people feel
- the frequency and characteristics of people's social interactions
- the groups with whom people have frequent contact
- how people connect with others to get support when they need it
Meta and Gallup continue to explore how social connections are shaping people's worlds. Further research using The Gallup World Poll will be released in 2023.
Data presented here are drawn from an in-depth survey on people's social connections in seven countries: Brazil, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States. Countries selected for this phase were chosen based on the representativeness of languages spoken globally, population size and world region.
Meta and Gallup engaged in a collaborative process to design all aspects of the study, including developing the survey instrument and analyzing the data, and incorporated critical inputs at several key stages:
- Literature review: A review of the literature on social connection - broadly defined and including survey instruments that have previously been used to measure connections - informed the overall study approach, including the major themes and research questions to be addressed, as well as the selection of populations to be studied. In developing the final survey, researchers drew from previous work measuring the quality and nature of people's social connections, including commonly used surveys on loneliness and social support, such as the UCLA Loneliness Scale and the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Social Support Survey.
- Cognitive interviews: Prior to finalizing the questionnaire, Gallup conducted cognitive interviews with 20 participants per major language in each country surveyed. These interviews gathered feedback from respondents on the survey questions, including how they interpreted questions and response options and how easy or difficult it was to understand and answer each question, to ensure the concepts of interest were being captured as intended. The cognitive interviews also tested whether the translations were appropriate and conveyed the intended meaning across languages.
- Expert consultation: Throughout the process of designing and conducting the study, including selecting countries, creating the questionnaire and analyzing the results, Meta and Gallup consulted with prominent academic advisors with expertise in one or more areas covered by the survey.1 Their recommendations were critical to ensuring the study would contribute valuable data and insights to researchers studying social connections, and the analysis reflected experts' current thinking on the topic.
For the final survey, Gallup interviewed a minimum of 2,000 people aged 15 or older in each country between April and June 2022.2 Interviews were conducted face-to-face at respondents' homes in Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Mexico, and via landline and mobile telephone in France and the United States. All samples were probability-based and representative of the national population within each country. The data within each country was weighted to minimize bias and project the sample data to its corresponding target population, and all estimates presented in this report take into account the design effect introduced by the complex sampling designs.
Assuming a 95% confidence level, the maximum design adjusted margin of error for a country-level percentage estimate ranged from ±2.5% (Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, United States) to ±2.7% (Egypt and France).3 For full details on the study methods, including sampling, weighting and analytic approach, see the accompanying methodology report.
The results presented in this report are focused on descriptive statistics and exploratory analyses. Where appropriate, the amount of certainty in specific estimates (i.e., 95% confidence intervals) and model comparisons (i.e., likelihood ratio tests) were used to help identify differences between groups and guide interpretation of results. Effect sizes are also available for interpretation in the methodology report.
1Meta and Gallup sought expertise from a wide group of academics in early stages of study conceptualization. Academic advisors who provided consultation on a consistent basis for the study included Nicole Ellison, University of Michigan; John Helliwell, University of British Columbia; Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Brigham Young University; Sonja Lyubomirsky, University of California, Riverside; and William Tov, Singapore Management University. Academic advisors were not compensated financially for their time and expertise but were provided opportunities to access privacy-protected study data before it was publicly released and to collaborate with Meta and Gallup on publications.2All participants provided informed consent to participate. Parental consent was obtained for all those under the age of majority in each country studied.3Aggregate data, including country-level weighted estimates with standard errors, 95% confidence intervals and question wording, are publicly available here.
Read Report Press Release
The Meta-Gallup State of Social Connections report finds that feelings of connection were less common among people with lower socioeconomic status.