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- May 2021
According to a study published last year by researchers at the University of California San Diego, more than three-quarters of American adults now experience moderate to high levels of loneliness — rates that have more than doubled over the last 50 years. Despite rising housing costs across the country, more Americans are living alone today than ever before. As Boone Wheeler, a 33-year-old member of East Wind, told me, “There are literal health consequences to loneliness: Your quality of life goes down due to lack of community — you will die sooner.”
Loneliness is growing and communities address that ...
IN 2017 BJORN GRINDE and Ranghild Bang Nes, researchers with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, co-authored a paper on the quality of life among North Americans living in intentional communities. Along with David Sloan Wilson, director of the evolutionary studies program at Binghamton University, and Ian MacDonald, a graduate assistant, they contacted more than 1,000 people living in 174 communities across the U.S. and Canada and asked them to rate their happiness level on the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), a globally recognized measurement tool. They compared these results to a widely cited 2008 study by the psychologists William Pavot and Ed Diener, which surveyed past studies that used the scale to analyze 31 disparate populations — including Dutch adults, French-Canadian university students and the Inuit of northern Greenland — and discovered that members of intentional communities scored higher than 30 of the 31 groups. Living in an intentional community, the authors concluded, “appears to offer a life less in discord with the nature of being human compared to mainstream society.” They then hypothesized why that might be: “One, social connections; two, sense of meaning; and three, closeness to nature.”
People in intentional communities are happier according to a 2017 study.