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Minnesota's largest city ranks among the nation's "loneliest," according to a new report that analyzes the percentage of single-occupancy residences in the U.S. The Chamber of Commerce, a company that writes guides for small-business owners, found that nearly 44% of Minneapolis residents live alone, ranking the city ninth on its index.

Washington, D.C., where about 49% of residents live alone, topped the list. Chamber of Commerce analyzed U.S. census data for 170 cities and census-designated places with a population of 150,000 or more to come up with its rankings.

In Minneapolis, Chamber of Commerce found that 1 in 4 men live alone. The number was about equal for women.

The report does not take into account any other metrics to make its claim that residents of the cities on its list are lonely. And another study, this one from WalletHub, ranks Minneapolis as the 13th happiest city in the U.S. based on average income, where residents fit on a physical and mental health index and more.

Still, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has declared loneliness and isolation a national epidemic. Loneliness can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke or the development of dementia, Murthy wrote in a memo last year. He called on Americans to "prioritize building social connection the same way we have prioritized other critical public health issues such as tobacco, obesity, and substance use disorders."

"Our epidemic of loneliness and isolation has been an underappreciated public health crisis that has harmed individual and societal health," Murthy said. "Our relationships are a source of healing and well-being hiding in plain sight — one that can help us live healthier, more fulfilled, and more productive lives."

Minnesota transplants are known to bemoan how difficult it is to forge meaningful friendships upon arrival.

Experts say that a few simple, intentional acts can go a long way toward easing loneliness and forging community. Star Tribune reporters have spent the last few weeks writing about the epidemic and how to combat its effects, from making small talk at the grocery checkout to volunteering with local organizations.

Read the series here:

How Minnesotans can fight back against the loneliness epidemic

Yes, you should talk to strangers, because small talk has big benefits

Friends are key to health and happiness. Here's how to make and keep them

Finding a sense of purpose and community helps combat loneliness