Edition 2023

Foto omschrijving: Two older women in bathrobes chatting on the exterior walkway of a flat building.

How often do older people have contact with neighbours?

In 2022, 69 percent of Dutch over-65s kept in touch with neighbours at least once a week. Another 16 percent communicated with them at least once a month, but not weekly. Around 15 percent contacted neighbours less often, some of them even never. Social interaction between neighbours has declined slightly in nearly all age groups in the last ten years.

Hoe vaak hebben ouderen contact met hun buren? How often do older people have contact with neighbours? 'Minstens 1x per maand'At least once a month 'Minder dan 1x per maand of nooit'Less than once a month or never 'Minstens 1x per week'At least once a week 16% 15% 69%

More older people (over-65s) than younger people communicate with neighbours at least once a week at 69 percent. The youngest age group (15 to 34‑year-olds) have weekly contact with neighbours least often: 41 percent. This was slightly higher among 35 to 64‑year-olds, 59 percent. Contact with neighbours includes not only actually meeting and chatting with neighbours, but also contact by phone, letter, email, or texting via WhatsApp, for example. In the over-65s group, 21 percent even communicated daily with neighbours in one form or another.

Contact with neighbours at least once a week, 2022 (%)
Leeftijd At least once a week
15-34 yrs 41
35-64 yrs 59
65 yrs and over 69

Contact with friends highest in youngest age groups

Young people have more contact with friends than other age groups. Eighty-eight percent of 15 to 34‑year-olds are in contact with their friends at least once a week, compared with 67 percent of over-65s. Contact with family members is at around the same level for all age groups: just over 80 percent meet up with, talk to or text relatives on a weekly basis.

Social contact among over-65s, 2022 (%)
Sociaal contact At least once a week At least once a month Less than once a month or never
Family 84 11 5
Neighbours 69 16 15
Friends 67 21 12

Less and less contact with neighbours

Fewer over-65s have weekly contact with neighbours than ten years ago. While 69 percent were in touch with neighbours at least once a week in 2022, in 2012 this was the case for 75 percent. The same pattern can be observed for younger age groups, too.

Weekly contact between over-65s and their family and friends has not changed much in this period. This fluctuated around 83 percent for relatives and around 68 percent for friends.

A large share of this oldest age group – 84 percent – say they are satisfied with their social activities in general. This percentage is slightly lower for younger people.

Weekly contact with neighbours, 2022 (%)
Jaartal 15-34 yrs 35-64 yrs 65 yrs and over
2012 57 67 75
2013 53 64 76
2014 50 64 71
2015 49 63 75
2016 48 62 75
2017 48 61 72
2018 44 60 72
2019 43 60 74
2020 41 58 70
2021 40 58 71
2022 41 59 69

Older people least likely to experience severe social loneliness

Absence of social contacts may lead to feelings of severe social lonelinessnoot1, where people would like to have more contact with family, friends and neighbours. In 2022, 12 percent of over-65s said they felt very lonely. This is the same percentage as the youngest age group, the under-35s. People aged 35 to 64 years experienced feelings of severe social loneliness most (16 percent). Severe social loneliness has fallen by most in the 25 to 34‑year age group.


Social loneliness

Loneliness is measured by presenting respondents with six statements, which differ for emotional and for social loneliness.

People with feelings of emotional loneliness feel the lack of close companionship with another person/persons. This is measured using statements concerning experiencing feelings of emptiness, missing people close to them, or often feeling let down.

People experiencing social loneliness would like to have more social contacts. This is measured using statements concerning the presence of people in their lives with whom they have a close bond, who they trust, and who they can turn to in times of crisis. If this is not (or not always) the case, this may be an indication of social loneliness.

Overall feelings of loneliness are based on responses to the statements on both social and emotional loneliness.


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Explanation of symbols

Explanation of symbols

Empty cell figure not applicable
. figure is unknown, insufficiently reliable or confidential
* provisional figure
** revised provisional figure
(between two numbers) inclusive
0 (0.0) less than half of unit concerned
2016–2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 average for the years 2016 up to and including 2017
2016/’17 crop year, financial year, school year etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2004/’05–2016/’17 crop year etc. 2004/’05 up to and including 2016/’17

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

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Concept & image editor

Irene van Kuik, Janneke Hendriks, Richard Jollie

With thanks to Hendrik Zuidhoek


Annelie Hakkenes (final editing)

Elma Wobma (general project leader)

Erik van den Berg

Gert Jan Wijma

Karolien van Wijk

Michel van Kooten

Paul de Winden

Saskia Stavenuiter

Sidney Vergouw


Gabriëlle de Vet, Lieneke Hoeksma, Frans Dinnissen


Ronald van der Bie

We thank all CBS colleagues who have contributed to this edition.