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More Americans Financially Ready to Endure Social Distancing
Politics

More Americans Financially Ready to Endure Social Distancing

by Zach Hrynowski
More Americans Financially Ready to Endure Social Distancing

Story Highlights

  • 59% of Americans say they can indefinitely afford social distancing
  • Social distancing is causing financial hardship for 8% of Americans
  • Impact of distancing on physical and mental health largely unchanged

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In the wake of congressional legislation passed to ease the financial burden of COVID-19 and states beginning to loosen restrictions tied to stay-at-home orders, slightly more Americans now (59%) than two weeks ago (54%) say they can adhere to social distancing requirements and business/school closures "as long as is necessary" before experiencing financial hardship.

Americans More Financially Prepared to Follow Social Distancing Guidelines and Business/School Closures
How long can you follow social distancing guidelines and business/school closures before experiencing financial hardship?
Already experiencing financial hardship A few more weeks A few more months As long as is necessary
% % % %
Apr 20-26 8 13 20 59
Apr 13-19 8 14 22 55
Apr 6-12 9 15 22 54
Gallup Panel, 2020

While the percentage of Americans who can financially afford to comply indefinitely with social distancing has grown over the past two weeks, the number of those who indicate they are already experiencing financial hardship has remained steady at 8%, and is similar to the change in the percentage of Americans reporting, in a separate question, that their financial situation is worse than a year ago.

This suggests that the Americans who are feeling more financially confident are those who were previously secure enough to continue social distancing for a few weeks or months, and may have since been encouraged by a stimulus check or eased social distancing restrictions. For those who were already experiencing financial hardship, few have had that burden relieved in recent weeks.

Americans of all income groups are modestly more likely now than two weeks ago to say they can afford to socially distance as long as is necessary; however, those with an annual household income (before the COVID-19 crisis) of less than $36,000 are nine points less likely to say this than those earning between $36,000 and $89,999, and 15 points less likely than those earning $90,000 or more. While economic relief seems to be facilitating social distancing for most Americans, it may not be sufficient to ease the burden for many of those in the lowest income bracket, which has already been disproportionately affected by layoffs and reductions in income.

Financial Stability Implications of Social Distancing and Business/School Closures, by Household Income
How long can you follow social distancing guidelines and business/school closures before experiencing financial hardship? -- % As long as is necessary
Less than $36,000 $36,000-$89,999 $90,000+
% % %
Apr 20-26 49 58 64
Apr 13-19 50 55 58
Apr 6-12 45 51 59
Gallup Panel, 2020

Meanwhile, the percentage of parents with children under 18 who say they could indefinitely weather the financial consequences of social distancing and school and business closures has increased by eight points, though they remain less certain that they will be able to do so than those with no minor children.

Parents Increasingly Confident They Can Financially Cope With Social Distancing and Business/School Closures
How long can you follow social distancing guidelines and business/school closures before experiencing financial hardship? -- % As long as is necessary
Parents with children under 18 No children under 18
% %
April 20-26 54 61
April 13-19 47 59
April 6-12 46 57
Gallup Panel, 2020

Americans' increased belief that they will be able to financially withstand the burden of social distancing and associated closures stands in contrast to the health effects of these restrictions. The percentage who feel they can follow social distancing guidelines as long as necessary before their mental or physical health begins to suffer has remained unchanged, while the percentage of Americans who are already experiencing physical or mental harm has slightly increased.

Americans' Mental and Physical Health Not Improving Under Social Distancing Restrictions
How long can you follow social distancing guidelines and business/school closures before …
Already experiencing A few more weeks A few more months As long as necessary
% % % %
Experiencing significant financial hardship?
April 20-26 8 13 20 59
April 13-19 8 14 22 55
April 6-12 9 15 22 54
Your emotional or mental health suffers?
April 20-26 18 15 19 49
April 13-19 17 16 19 48
April 6-12 15 18 19 48
Your physical health suffers?
April 20-26 8 10 14 68
April 13-19 7 9 17 67
April 6-12 6 12 15 68
Gallup Panel, 2020

Learn more about how the Gallup Panel works.


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/309551/americans-financially-ready-endure-social-distancing.aspx
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