Demos carried out research over the summer of 2018 to assess the potential impact of reading on several great challenges of our time: loneliness, mental health problems, dementia and social (im)mobility. If left unchecked, our research shows, these challenges will grow into insurmountable problems.
Building on existing data, we forecast the effect these problems will have on society by 2030. For example we estimate the loneliness epidemic reach 7 million people in the over-60 age group alone. Two million may expect to see their lifespans shortened by loneliness.
Our new report explores how something as simple as reading can play a crucial role in tackling these issues. We argue the nation’s perception of reading must change. It should become a strategic social objective for us all – state, market and civil society, to work towards becoming a ‘society of readers’. Reading may not seem like a radical solution to solving some of the biggest issues of this generation, however this report proves that reading can train our brains and hold off dementia, help us foster connections with other people and alleviate loneliness and depression.
This project has been supported by the Reading Agency.