July 27, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the U.S. -- particularly the Sun Belt states -- and Gallup's ongoing tracking survey finds that Americans' outlook is gloomy. This week's recap highlights recent findings you may have missed or want to revisit.
Americans' Assessment of Pandemic in U.S. Has Deteriorated
Americans have become increasingly pessimistic about the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks. A record-high 73% of U.S. adults now say the situation in the U.S. is worsening, with a majority saying it is getting a lot worse -- marking a sharp reversal from early June.
Line graph. Percentage of Americans who believe the coronavirus situation is getting worse. In Gallup's July 13-19 survey, 73% of Americans said the coronavirus situation is getting worse and 55% believe it is getting a lot worse. Both are the highest recorded measures since trending began in April.
Behavior Not Drastically Changed Despite Heightened Negative Assessments
Although Americans believe the coronavirus situation is deteriorating, their contact with non-household members has been steady since June. Less than half of U.S. adults (44%) say they are completely or mostly isolating themselves.
Americans' plateaued social distancing may be the result of increased face mask usage. However, while almost nine in 10 U.S. adults report wearing a mask when in public, new data show that less than half of Americans (44%) always do so. Republicans are particularly less likely to wear masks.
Republican Governors' Ratings Lower Than Democrats'
Although Americans remain positive overall about the way their state governors are handling the COVID-19 situation, governors' ratings have dipped slightly -- largely due to declining ratings of Republican governors.
More U.S. Workers Returning to Workplaces
U.S. employees are returning to their workplaces in greater numbers. According to workers, employers are continuing to clean work sites and increasingly screening workers for COVID-19 symptoms and providing personal protective equipment.
Workers in one profession in particular -- K-12 teachers -- are broadly concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19 at their workplace. They are also increasingly likely to say they would prefer to work remotely because of concerns about the virus.
Line graph. Percentages of K-12 teachers and all other U.S. workers who say they are very concerned about being exposed to COVID-19 at their place of work between May and mid-July. Teachers have consistently been more concerned about exposure. Currently, 57% of teachers are very concerned while 21% of all other workers are.
Perspectives on Gallup Findings
Gallup Editor-in-Chief Mohamed Younis recently hosted two podcasts about the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.
Sonal Desai, chief investment officer at Franklin Templeton Fixed Income, and Jonathan Rothwell, principal economist at Gallup, joined the podcast to discuss the new Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study that will track U.S. consumers' readiness to resume pre-COVID-19 activities.
Gallup Podcast: What Will It Take to Get the U.S. Economy 'Back to Normal'? (July 23)
Sera Young, associate professor at Northwestern University, joined the podcast to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the global problem of water scarcity.
Gallup Podcast: A Crisis Within a Crisis: Water Scarcity Amid COVID-19 (July 17)
Gallup's COVID-19 Data Resources
Links to all of Gallup's articles about the pandemic are available on this master list of COVID-19 news articles, sorted by topic.
The Gallup News home page always features the latest findings from our ongoing COVID-19 research and offers helpful summary pages to direct you to specific content. These include:
This blog highlights the key insights drawn from our top news articles and is updated regularly. Please bookmark and visit often. If you are a member of the media interested in getting the latest updates on Gallup's COVID-19 coverage, or being notified when this page is updated, please write to us at email@example.com.
Review Gallup's findings on all aspects of the COVID-19 crisis:
Past blog entries appear below.
July 9, 2020
The number of new COVID-19 cases is surging in the U.S., particularly in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. As governors in these states grapple with how to proceed, Gallup's COVID-19 research this week finds that the public's outlook on the pandemic remains grim, but partisans' views diverge.
Here are a few notable findings:
One in Five Holding Out for a Vaccine
Americans' views of how soon they would return to their normal day-to-day activities in the absence of government restrictions have evolved over the course of the pandemic and are sharply politically polarized.
At the two ends of the spectrum, 27% would resume their regular activities "right now," and 20% would prefer to wait until after a vaccine is developed. Both of those responses have increased since March.
Meanwhile, reduced percentages would use the number of COVID-19 cases in their state as a guide -- 29% now favor waiting until there are no new cases in their state, and 24% would delay until new cases in their state drop significantly. Both figures are down from 40% in late March/early April.
Line graph. Americans' views of how soon they would return to their normal, day-to-day activities in the absence of government restrictions since early April. Currently, 27% would do so right now, 20% would wait for a vaccine, 29% would do so after no new cases in their state and 24% would wait until the number of new cases in their state declines significantly. The percentage of Americans who are waiting for a vaccine is the highest it has been.
Democrats Four Times as Likely as Republicans to Favor Waiting on Vaccine
Preferences for returning to normalcy are sharply different based on party identification. A 59% majority of Republicans currently say they would resume their daily life right now if it were up to them, but far fewer Democrats (4%) and independents (29%) agree.
For their part, Democrats (41%) are far more likely than Republicans (13%) and independents (27%) to say they would want to see no new cases in their state for a while before a resumption of normalcy. Likewise, Democrats (30%) are much more likely than Republicans (7%) and independents (18%) to say they would prefer to wait for a vaccine.
More Pessimism About the Pandemic
A record high expect the current level of disruption to last at least through the end of this year before improving. Thirty-six percent of Americans say it will continue for the rest of the year, and 42% believe it will be longer than that.
Americans' views of the coronavirus situation in the U.S. are the bleakest since Gallup began tracking the measure in early April. A record-high 44% of U.S. adults now say it is getting a lot worse, up seven percentage points in one week, and 24% say it is getting a little worse.
Line graph. Americans' impressions of the coronavirus situation in the U.S. since April 6. Currently, 68% say it is getting a lot or a little worse and 19% say it is getting a lot or a little better. Those who say it is about the same are not shown. These are the bleakest readings measured.
July 14 UPDATE: Read Gallup's new report on Americans' frequency of mask wearing and how this differs by party, gender, region and other demographics.
July 6, 2020
This week's COVID-19 research finds that as the number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. rises, Americans see the situation as getting worse and are more worried about getting the virus themselves.
Sharp Increase in Percentage Saying Situation Worsening
A new high of 65% of Americans say the coronavirus situation in the U.S. is getting worse, while 23% say it is getting better. Consequently, close to three-fourths of U.S. adults expect the level of disruption caused by COVID-19 to persist until the end of this year or longer than that. A majority of Americans are once again worried about personally contracting the virus.
Americans More Worried About Lack of Social Distancing
The rise in daily new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. comes as states are attempting to reopen their economies. For the first time, a majority of Americans (54%) say they are worried about the lack of social distancing in their local area. Eighty-six percent of U.S. adults now report wearing a face mask when outside their home, the highest Gallup has measured to date. However, Republicans remain much less likely than Democrats to say they wear a face mask in public.
Renewed Concern About Hospital Capacity, COVID-19 Testing
Gallup observed a steady decline in Americans' worry about the availability of COVID-19 tests and hospital supplies/treatment from early April through late June. However, the most recent data showed an uptick in worry about testing and hospital resources, though the level of concern remains lower than it was in April and early May.
U.S. Employees Less Engaged in Their Work
Gallup documented a sharp drop in the percentage of U.S. employees classified as engaged in their work. The early June estimate of 31% was down from a record-high 38% measured in late April and early May. Those in leadership and management positions showed some of the largest declines in job engagement.
Separately, Gallup documented significant declines in the percentages of U.S. workers who say they feel prepared to do their job, who rate their employer's and manager's communication positively, and who say their organization cares about their wellbeing.
June 25, 2020
This week's Gallup research on COVID-19 finds Americans have become increasingly confident that they can protect themselves from getting the coronavirus when out in public. They also have become less pessimistic about the effects of the coronavirus situation on the U.S. economy. A special Gallup analysis shows how news media exposure has shaped COVID-19 prevention attitudes and behaviors.
Self-Protection From COVID-19
Since early April, Americans have become much more confident that they can protect themselves from getting the coronavirus when out in public. The percentage who are "very" or "somewhat" confident has increased by 19 percentage points, with most of that growth coming in the percentage who are very confident. Much of that increase in confidence has come among Republicans.
Less Pessimism About Harm to U.S. Economy
Far fewer Americans today than in mid-May believe the economy is in a recession or depression. The percentage who say the U.S. is in a depression has been cut by about half in the past month. U.S. adults are also now less pessimistic than they were in May about the effects of the coronavirus situation on their personal finances.
Media Consumption Habits Influence COVID-19 Attitudes and Behaviors
During the coronavirus pandemic, Americans' attitudes on COVID-19 prevention methods have changed. They have become less likely to believe healthy people should stay at home as much as possible, less likely to say they always practice social distancing, but more likely to say they wear face masks when out in public. The trends in these attitudes and behaviors have varied by party affiliation.
However, Gallup finds that what type of news media people use influences their public health behaviors and attitudes over and above partisanship. Independents and Republicans who rely solely on conservative-leaning news sources are much less likely to endorse and comply with public health recommendations, compared with independents and Republicans who consume only liberal-leaning news or an ideological mix of news sources. The gap between those with right-leaning and non-right-leaning news diets has widened over time. Democrats' attitudes and behaviors are similar regardless of what types of news they consume.
June 18, 2020
As the economy continues to reopen and the percentage of U.S. adults practicing extreme social distancing continues to decline, Americans are more optimistic about their personal finances. The majority of parents prefer their children attend full-time, in-person school this fall. Still, Americans' concern about being exposed to the coronavirus shows no signs of easing.
Gauging the Financial Impact
Americans' ratings of their personal finances, and their expectations for their finances going forward, are slightly better now than they were in April when most U.S. adults were still living under stay-at-home orders. Lower-income Americans' ratings have improved more than those among adults living in middle- and upper-income households.
Gallup also documented improvements between April and May in Americans' ratings of the U.S. economy more generally. However, the latest update from early June showed no further improvement in assessments of the economy.
Looking Back on an Atypical School Year, and Ahead to the Fall
The coronavirus forced schools to shut down and required teachers, students and parents to rely on distance learning methods to complete the 2019-2020 academic year. Parents said the social aspect of distance learning -- being physically separated from teachers and other students -- was the biggest challenge they faced.
As of late May, 29% of parents said school and business closures and social distancing practices were already harming their child's mental health. Another 14% said their child could continue the practices a few more weeks before experiencing harm.
Parents were more likely to describe remote learning as being "difficult" (56%) rather than "easy" (44%) for their family. The majority, 56%, prefer their children attend school in person on a full-time basis this fall, as opposed to continuing remote learning on a part-time or full-time basis. Parents' preferences are strongly related to their level of concern about their children being infected by the coronavirus.
Social Distancing Continues to Ease
A new low of 41% of U.S. adults say they are "completely" or "mostly" isolating themselves from people outside their household. This represents a decline of 18 percentage points in the past month, and 34 points since the peak in late March/early April.
Line graph. The percentage of Americans who are completely or mostly isolating themselves due to COVID-19. 41% of Americans are completely or mostly isolating themselves, down from a high of 75% in April.
Concern About Exposure Shows No Sign of Declining
Public concern about exposure to the disease -- either personally or for a family member -- is little changed from mid-March when cases were rising rapidly in the U.S. and most states were issuing stay-at-home orders. Gallup finds people of color expressing more intense worry than white people.
June 11, 2020
Gallup's latest coverage has documented some key shifts in Americans' views of the COVID-19 crisis.
Heading Back Out Slowly and Carefully
With the number of new cases per day falling slightly in the U.S. in May after peaking in April, fewer Americans report avoiding public places and small gatherings with friends and family. At the same time, it appears many are still taking precautions such as maintaining six-foot distances (44% say they "always" practice social distancing) and wearing face masks (83%).
Compared with data from early April, Gallup tracking from late May finds that fewer U.S. adults are reluctant to visit their doctor or a hospital for routine treatment should they need it, out of fear of being exposed to the coronavirus.
Majorities of U.S. employees who are returning to work report vigilant hand-washing and social distancing on the job, as well as the use of personal protective equipment such as gloves and face masks.
While one might expect younger people to feel the most comfortable returning to their daily lives, Frank Newport's recent analysis indicates otherwise: "Our data suggest that assumptions about disproportionality of concern among older members, customers and patrons need to be examined closely. Churches and other business organizations may find that the political orientation of their membership and patrons is a more powerful predictor of returning to in-person participation than the members' and patrons' average age."
Limited Improvement in Optimism About Virus Trajectory
Although the number of new cases per day in the U.S. has slowed from its peak, more recently it has stabilized at a level far from optimal. This may explain why Americans have remained hesitant to say the coronavirus situation in the U.S. is getting better. More said so in late May than earlier in the month -- but at 42%, the figure remains below majority level. Another 36% said the situation is getting worse, while 21% perceived it is staying about the same.
Line graph. Americans impression of the coronavirus situation are improving as 42% now say it is getting better, 36% say it is getting worse, and 21% say it is staying the same. Views of the pandemic have fluctuated, and the latest data are close to readings recorded between April 20 and May 3.
Economic Fallout Still Mounting
Prior to a recession officially being declared last week, seven in 10 Americans thought the country was in a recession or worse, including 30% terming it a depression. Sharp partisan differences are seen on this measure, with most Democrats versus less than half of Republicans perceiving a recession or depression.
Jonathan Rothwell, Principal Economist at Gallup, explored the impact of coronavirus-related work disruptions on different occupations and income classes and found profound disparities. According to Rothwell, "Workers who provide in-person services have borne the brunt of layoffs and wage reductions, as shown in Gallup data collected from April 17-May 17, 2020. Moreover, those in low-paying jobs are much more likely to have been laid off or seen wage and hour cuts than workers in high-paying jobs."
Take Control of Your Happiness
Finally, as the pandemic wears on and many of us remain mostly bound to our homes, this podcast on maintaining happiness -- hosted by Gallup Editor-in-Chief Mohamed Younis -- is not to be missed.
How can people use life challenges as opportunities for personal progress? Gallup Senior Scientist and Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, Arthur C. Brooks, joins the podcast to discuss maintaining happiness during a pandemic.
Gallup Podcast: How to Maintain Happiness and Wellbeing in Lockdown (May 29)
May 26, 2020
This post-Memorial Day edition catches readers up on everything Gallup published last week through this morning related to COVID-19 coverage. As always, for previous blog entries, scroll past today's update -- or browse all of Gallup's news articles on COVID-19, sorted by topic, here.
Less Worry About Medical Safeguards, Less Social Distancing
Perhaps not coincidentally, fewer Americans report avoiding various situations involving personal contact while fewer also say they are worried about the availability of coronavirus tests and hospital services in their area.
In interviewing for the week ending May 17, Gallup recorded further reductions in the percentages of Americans reporting they were avoiding public places, small gatherings and travel. The analysis by Jeffrey M. Jones points out that even as more people are venturing out, most Americans are still taking precautions and see the value in limiting contact as much as possible.
Small multiple line graphs. Americans' avoidance of activities due to coronavirus concern. 65% of Americans said they avoided public places in the last week due to concern over the disease and 63% avoided small gatherings.
Additional Gallup reports on social distancing provide more insight into the extent to which Americans are isolating themselves and the extent to which they are confident the practice saves lives.
Most -- but not all -- Americans believe that social distancing saves lives. Gallup's coronavirus tracking poll finds that most Americans are either "very confident" (54%) or "moderately confident" (31%) in this belief.
As noted, a shrinking percentage of Americans are worried about the availability of coronavirus tests as well as hospital supplies and services. The percentage worried about each has declined roughly 10 points since late April, and now about half of Americans worry about each issue.
Line graph. Americans' concern about the availability of coronavirus tests, hospital supplies/services. 52% of Americans are concerned about the availability of coronavirus tests, while 48% are concerned about the availability of hospital services and supplies.
Wary of COVID-19 Hype or Tendency to Downplay
Americans' nuanced view of the situation is evident in this new analysis of Gallup/Knight Foundation data on perceptions of the danger caused by the media either downplaying the risks of COVID-19 or exaggerating them.
U.S. Emotions Improve, but Satisfaction With Direction of U.S. Remains Low
Americans are reporting improvements in their emotional health. Less than half now say they worried a lot of the previous day -- down from 59% in late March/early April, when Gallup recorded an unprecedented increase in self-reported worry. Meanwhile, boredom has dipped five points, to 41%, and happiness has edged up five points, to 72%.
Though the nation's collective mood has improved, Americans' satisfaction with the direction of the country remains subdued. Just under a third of Americans, 32%, now say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S.
Republicans (40%) are much less likely than Democrats (87%) to believe COVID-19 is deadlier than the seasonal flu, according to a recent Gallup/Knight Foundation poll. The trend, possible reasons for the gap and implications are discussed in this analysis by Zacc Ritter.
Adapting to New Ways of Shopping, Working, Communicating
Even as fewer Americans are engaged in extreme social distancing, more are taking advantage of low-contact retail and medical services. This analysis by Megan Brenan delves into the trend by key demographics.
|March 23-April 5||April 6-19||May 11-17|
|Picked up takeout from a restaurant||26||31||44|
|Used curbside pickup at a store||19||27||36|
|Had a virtual visit with a doctor||12||16||27|
|Had food from a restaurant or pizzeria delivered||13||16||23|
|Had groceries delivered||11||14||14|
|Had medicine or medical supplies delivered||4||6||9|
|GALLUP PANEL, 2020|
The percentage of U.S. workers logging in from home instead of an office because of the coronavirus has leveled off, at just above 60%. While Gallup doesn't have an immediate pre-COVID-19 baseline to compare this to, about half as many employees in mid-March said they were working from home because of the pandemic. This analysis by Adam Hickman and Lydia Saad finds that workers are far from united in their readiness or desire to return to work -- in fact, they break into four distinct groups.
After initially expressing more worry about getting COVID-19 than about experiencing financial hardship from the disruption, Americans now express nearly equal levels of concern about the two risks. Gallup Senior Scientist Frank Newport explores these views, among many other indicators of how Americans are weathering the economic challenges brought on by COVID-19.
Social media certainly isn't new, but some Americans are relying on it more during the pandemic, both for news about the coronavirus and for staying connected. This article by Zacc Ritter explores age, gender and partisan differences in reliance on social media platforms.
Perspectives on Gallup Findings
Also from Frank Newport: "There is a yawning partisan gap in responses to almost any question about virus-related issues. This is particularly true, and perhaps least surprising, when Republicans and Democrats are asked about overtly political aspects of the situation. … But there are also substantial differences by party in nonpolitical questions about the virus."
Is the U.S. heading into a recession or a depression? Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group and host of "GZERO World with Ian Bremmer," joins The Gallup Podcast.
Gallup Podcast: Ian Bremmer: We're Heading Into a Coronavirus Depression (May 19)
May 14, 2020
Gallup's latest reporting on daily life amid the coronavirus pandemic finds some easing of social distancing even as a majority of Americans endorse the value of social distancing for saving lives. The partisan aspect to attitudes on COVID-19 is seen in a Gallup/Knight Foundation article about face mask usage, and it continues to color most of Gallup's coronavirus-related findings.
Resuming Visits With Friends and Family
Earlier this week, Gallup reported the biggest one-week decline in Americans' social distancing since we started tracking these behaviors in mid-March. The percentages of Americans avoiding various forms of public contact have all fallen a few percentage points since mid-April, but there was a six-point drop in the percentage avoiding "small gatherings of people, such as with family or friends" in the week ending May 3.
It remains to be seen whether resuming in-person visits with the people closest to them will satisfy Americans' need for socialization or be the breach that leads to more social un-distancing. Look for Gallup's update on these metrics next week.
What Americans Need to Get Back to Normal
A new Gallup question finds wide variation in the amount of confidence that different COVID-19 milestones or measures would give Americans to feel safe to resume normal daily activities. The "availability of a vaccine" ranks fourth in importance, but the top three -- involving testing, improved medical therapies and reduced COVID-19 cases -- are less challenging to attain.
Partisan Gaps Dwarf Other Differences on Views of Pandemic
Three Gallup articles this week underscore Republicans' and Democrats' very different perspectives on COVID-19.
These views are highlighted in two articles discussing Americans' confidence that social distancing saves lives and their use of face masks.
Although it touches on partisanship, the piece on face masks mainly addresses Americans' perceptions of the relative value of hand-washing versus the use of masks for preventing illness, including how these views have changed along with official guidelines.
And in a new blog out tomorrow, Gallup contributor Frank Newport takes a comprehensive look at the partisan nature of American attitudes on COVID-19.
Charities Among the Pandemic's Potential Victims
Charitable organizations depend on public altruism, and on individual wealth, to supply the contributions needed to run their organizations -- both resources potentially at risk due to disruption from the coronavirus.
A recent Gallup update of trends in charitable activity finds fewer Americans donating and volunteering in the past year. What that potentially means for charitable organizations today is discussed in a blog co-written by Gallup and one of Gallup's Washington, D.C., community partners.
While not directly related to Americans' personal philanthropy, an article written by Gallup's wellbeing experts provides additional perspective on the changes to Americans' mindset since the crisis began that could affect their willingness and ability to connect with community organizations.
Gallup/Knight Foundation Work Sheds Light on Media Issues
Local news organizations already on the financial brink are now facing an existential crisis due to revenue loss caused by COVID-19. New data collected in partnership with Knight Foundation show that Americans are supportive of directing federal money to local news organizations as part of coronavirus relief efforts -- although they're much more sympathetic to supporting other community businesses and local residents.
With a glut of COVID-19 information available from news sources and social media, Americans divide evenly between saying the vast amount of information makes it easier versus harder to be well-informed.
May 8, 2020
Readers of Gallup news would not have been surprised to see this morning's BLS announcement that April unemployment was 14.7%. Gallup economist Dr. Jonathan Rothwell's analysis of Gallup employment metrics predicted the rate could be as high as 14.6% -- essentially on the money.
Here is more on those findings and other highlights from Gallup's COVID-19 news coverage over the past week.
- An expanding minority of Americans expect the disruption caused by the coronavirus to continue for the rest of 2020 or longer (37%), while a dwindling share say things will start to improve in a matter of weeks (22%). But roughly equal proportions of Americans say the situation is getting better (41%) as say it is getting worse (38%), a continuation of the shift recorded a week prior as pessimism about the virus began to decline.
- Americans' vigilance in adhering to social distancing guidelines may be waning. Fewer say they are completely or mostly isolating themselves than did so in early April, and the percentage who say they "always" practiced social distancing over the previous 24 hours has slipped.
- More than a quarter of Americans (27%) report having worshipped virtually within the past seven days. Another 4% claim to have worshipped in person, despite the coronavirus restrictions in place in most states. The combined 31% who have worshipped within the past seven days either virtually or in person is roughly in line with recent, pre-virus trends.
Unemployment and Other Economic Fallout From COVID-19
- Using Gallup Panel data on U.S. workers' employment status during April, Gallup Principal Economist Jonathan Rothwell predicted that the BLS unemployment figure for April could be near 15%. Even that underestimates the economic dislocation in the U.S., as altogether a third of workers have been laid off or have seen reduced hours because of COVID-19. That amounts to an estimated 54 million U.S. workers.
- Fifty-one percent of U.S. adults say they have been spending less money in recent months than they used to, an increase of nearly 20 percentage points from a year ago. The last time a majority of Americans reported spending less than usual was in 2010.
- Americans are concerned about the present state of the economy and believe conditions are worsening, but their six-month predictions for specific aspects of the economy are less dire -- particularly in terms of the stock market and economic growth.
Views on Key Institutions: Trump, Healthcare Providers and the Media
- Americans divide evenly when asked whether they approve or disapprove of the way President Donald Trump is handling the coronavirus situation in the U.S. Approval of his handling of the crisis is down 10 percentage points from March, including a 10-point decline among independents and a 16-point decline among Democrats.
- When it comes to handling the COVID-19 crisis, Americans continue to give their highest approval ratings to healthcare providers and medical experts. Of all the key actors responding to the crisis that Americans were asked about, the news media received the lowest approval (41%).
- Americans support directing federal money to local news organizations as part of coronavirus relief efforts, something that has bipartisan congressional support. Sixty-five percent are in favor of extending coronavirus relief aid to local news organizations, while 34% are opposed. However, funding local news is a much lower priority for Americans than providing support for local businesses or individuals affected by the coronavirus situation.
- Although attention to national and international news has fallen back to pre-coronavirus levels in recent weeks, attention to local news, though also down, remains higher than before COVID-19. Additionally, more Americans consider themselves to be "very informed" about local issues than did so last year.
International Findings on COVID-19
- According to a new, globally applicable measure developed by the World Food Programme and Gallup, women are likely to be affected differently than men regarding acute food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Perspectives on Gallup Findings
- How has Americans' wellbeing been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak? And what impact has the crisis had on how people rate their current lives and their anticipated futures?
Gallup Podcast: How Badly Has the Coronavirus Impacted U.S. Wellbeing? (May 7)
April 30, 2020
Gallup research this past week, based on recent data from the Gallup Panel and Gallup's annual Economy and Personal Finance poll, illustrates the ways in which quarantine life has become the norm for many Americans.
- A majority of Americans (59%) say they can adhere to social distancing requirements and business/school closures for "as long as is necessary" before experiencing financial hardship -- a slight increase from 54% two weeks prior.
- There is no consensus among Americans on when they would feel ready to return to normal life, but most would like to wait until they see some degree of progress in their state's reduction in new cases. Some, however, say they are not ready to return to normalcy until a vaccine has been developed, while a growing number of Americans are ready to return "right now."
|Apr 2-6||Apr 20-26||Change|
|After number of new cases in your state declines significantly||40||36||-4|
|After no new cases in your state||40||31||-9|
|After vaccine is developed||7||12||+5|
|Gallup Panel, 2020|
- Though strong majorities are likely to comply, stay-at-home orders are wearing on some groups of Americans. The percentage of Americans who say they are "very likely" to comply with public health officials' requests for people to remain home has slipped, from 67% in early April to 62% by mid-month.
- Meanwhile, increasing numbers of consumers are adapting to the times by turning to virtual doctor visits and delivery/pickup options for essential goods and services. Across all six low-contact behaviors Gallup asked about, a majority of more frequent users say they will continue to use those services.
Shaken Faith in Some Financial Investments
Gallup's annual Economy and Personal Finance survey was conducted after a massive sell-off occurred in U.S. markets and as the unemployment rate soared.
- Americans have become less likely to view stocks or mutual funds as the best long-term investment. The current 21% naming stocks as the best investment is down six percentage points from last year and is the lowest Gallup has recorded since 2012. Stockowners, themselves, have also soured on stocks or mutual funds as the best long-term investment.
- Americans divide evenly on whether it is now a good (50%) or a bad time (49%) to buy a house. The 50% saying it is a good time to purchase a home is the lowest Gallup has measured -- two percentage points below the prior low in 2006 amid the housing bubble.
COVID-19 Takes Toll on U.S. Workforce, but Retirement Outlooks Stand Firm
- Nearly one in three Americans have experienced a temporary layoff, permanent job loss, reduction in hours or reduction of income as a result of the coronavirus situation. Eighteen percent have experienced more than one of these disruptions. These impacts have been more pronounced among those in lower income brackets.
- Nonretired Americans' expectations for what their income sources will be in retirement are broadly similar to a year ago. Their estimate of the age at which they expect to retire, currently averaging 66, is similar to the average expected age of retirement recorded each year since 2009.
Americans' Retirement Outlook Largely Intact (April 28)
Healthcare Costs Deter Some Americans From Seeking Care
Gallup finds that one in seven U.S. adults report that they would avoid seeking healthcare for a fever and a dry cough for themselves or a member of their household due to concerns about their ability to pay for it.
- When framed explicitly as believing to have been infected by the novel coronavirus, 9% still report that they would avoid seeking care. Adults younger than 30, nonwhites, those with a high school education or less, and those in households making less than $40,000 per year are the groups most likely to indicate they would avoid seeking care.
Perspectives on Gallup Findings
- From Gallup Senior Scientist Frank Newport's Polling Matters blog: "An assessment of public opinion, as we have seen, does not provide leaders with a precise mandate on exactly how to proceed. The public clearly (and not surprisingly) supports the concept of saving lives by containing the virus, and if forced to choose between that and economic matters, opts for the former. … The data show that Americans want their leaders to do what is hardest -- balancing both objectives and moving forward on parallel tracks, addressing the virus and addressing the economy simultaneously."
- From the Gallup Podcast: How can the true economic pain from the COVID-19 pandemic, beyond the U.S. unemployment rate, be measured? Gallup Principal Economist Jonathan Rothwell returns to discuss the ways in which he has analyzed the number of Americans who have been harmed so far.
- From the Gallup Podcast: Many facets of U.S. work and life have had to adapt to changes resulting from the outbreak of the coronavirus -- and this includes how Gallup polls Americans every day. What are the challenges of collecting data during an international health crisis?
How Americans Are Adapting Amid COVID-19 (April 30)
April 23, 2020
Gallup research this past week based on recent data from the Gallup Panel and Gallup's annual Economy and Personal Finance poll has an "on the one hand, on the other hand" feel to it.
On the one hand, there are some signs of decreased pessimism and indications that Americans are weathering the crisis fairly well:
- Americans are sensing some improvement in the national battle to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
- They are also feeling a bit less negative about their local hospitals' capacity to serve patients (although not about the availability of testing).
- Americans' reports of their current financial situation are largely intact compared with a year ago, suggesting that the immense economic disruption taking place nationally hasn't yet transferred to most individuals.
- Americans are currently more worried about contracting the illness than experiencing severe financial hardship as a result of the disruption caused by the coronavirus.
On the other hand, there are signs of increased anxiety and persistent concern that the crisis is far from over:
- COVID-19 dominates what Americans are thinking about when asked to name the most important problem facing the country.
- Americans aren't easing up on social distancing, suggesting that fear of contracting the illness remains a key factor in their willingness to reopen society.
|Completely||Mostly||Partially||A little||No effort|
|Mar 30-Apr 5||28||47||17||6||3|
|Response options: 1) Completely isolated yourself, having no contact with people outside your household; 2) Mostly isolated yourself, having very little contact with people outside your household; 3) Partially isolated yourself, having some contact with people outside your household; 4) Isolated yourself a little, still having a fair amount of contact with people outside your household; 5) Did not make any attempt to isolate yourself from people outside your household|
|Gallup Panel, 2020|
- There is significant anxiety about the future when it comes to personal finances, with half of Americans saying their financial situation is worsening.
- Unemployment, specifically, is rattling people, with a quarter saying it's likely they could be laid off within the next year.
Important Research on Social Distancing
In addition to the above findings, Gallup News this past week featured an article by Gallup Principal Economist Jonathan Rothwell analyzing the precise number of people that Americans are coming into contact with. It shows that while most Americans are broadly engaged in social distancing, some people are able to isolate themselves far more than others.
The eye-popping statistic is that those who report they are "mostly" isolating themselves generate about five interpersonal contacts per day, compared with an average of 52 among those not attempting to isolate themselves. Going to work plays a big role in how well people are able to isolate themselves, as do efforts by workplaces to mitigate social contact among workers.
A New Normal Emerging in Retail and Healthcare?
Americans have been gradually increasing their use of grocery delivery, curbside pickup and virtual doctor visits since March, with most of them saying they will continue to rely on these and other low-contact services after the national lockdown ends.
April 16, 2020
Here's what we've learned this week:
Relief Money Is Essential for Half of Americans
Government relief payments can't come soon enough for the 35% of Americans who say they will use the money to pay bills and the 16% who will spend it on essentials like food and gas.
Americans Are Prioritizing Health Over 'Normalcy'
Two articles this week underscore Americans' commitment to social distancing. U.S. adults are maintaining peak levels of separation from non-household members and plan to keep doing so until it's clearly safe to resume their normal daily activities.
Read about the percentages avoiding small gatherings, public places and travel throughout the crisis:
Learn who is eager to get back to normal quickly after the government lifts restrictions and who would rather wait for stronger indications that it's safe to do so:
|March 27-29||April 3-5|
|Wait to see what happens with the coronavirus before resuming||69||71|
|Continue to limit your contact with other people and daily activities indefinitely||9||10|
|Gallup Panel, 2020|
Crisis Is Taking a Toll on Emotions
The percentage of Americans classified as "thriving" has dropped to the lowest level seen since the Great Recession. Similarly, self-reported feelings of stress and worry are up, while enjoyment is down.
In U.S., Life Ratings Plummet to 12-Year Low (April 14)
Although majorities of Americans say they can endure social distancing practices and business/school closures for "as long as is necessary" when it comes to their finances and physical health, they are less sure their emotional or mental health will last more than a few more months.
Online Shopping and Curbside Pickup Gaining Users, but Slowly
Relatively few Americans say they are using low-contact means of getting food, groceries and other supplies into their home more often than they did before the crisis. However, a few services may be catching on as the national lockdown continues. In particular, increasing percentages say they are using grocery delivery (14%) and curbside pickup (22%) more often than did so the week prior. Younger and higher-income adults are at the vanguard of using these and other low-contact services.
Read all of Gallup's prior COVID-19 roundups: