Vancouver prides itself in being one of the most liveable cities in the world, but a new study shows that it's not as friendly or inclusive as many residents might think.

The Vancouver Foundation surveyed 3,841 people across Metro Vancouver, both online and in telephone interviews, in April and May for its Connections and Engagement study.

"We found that one in four people are finding it difficult to make friends in Vancouver and one in three people are lonely," Vancouver Foundation CEO Faye Wightman said Monday.

Wightman said it's important to address feelings of isolation and disconnection.

"Research has shown that you're actually going to be healthier if you get involved. By joining a club, you can expand your life by 50 per cent."  

The study also revealed that 35 per cent of the respondents don't have any close friends from outside their own ethnic group. And 65 per cent prefer to spend their time with people who are just like them.

When asked which ethnic groups would be least welcome in their neighbourhoods, 39 per cent said everyone was welcome and 32 per cent refused to answer.

The rest cited Middle Easterners, South Asians, Africans and Asians as the least desirable neighbours.

"What we'd like to do over the summer is just try to get underneath that and figure out why," Wightman said.

Most interviews took place in English, but when necessary interviews were also conducted in Cantonese, Mandarin or Punjabi, the foundation said on its website.

With files from the CBC's Ayesha Bhatty