May 21, 2020

Data science firm Civis Analytics today released new findings from its COVID-19 Impact Research, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This ongoing survey research studies the social, economic, and educational impacts of COVID-19 in America. Since April 2, 2020, the team has run ongoing national surveys, with deep dives into Washington, Florida, Texas, and New York. The latest round of research highlights the disparity of the impact on communities of color and lower-income households.

Key findings from the May 8-10, 2020 survey of 7,922 US adults include:

Attitudes Towards/Economic Impact of COVID-19

  •     Job security continues to be a pressing issue; 35% of employed Americans think it is likely that they will lose their job in the next three months. However, this concern is not shared equally among all Americans.
  •         32% of employed white Americans think it is likely that they will lose their job, compared to 45% of employed Black Americans and 40% of employed Hispanic/Latinx Americans. This corresponds to the latest unemployment data showing higher jobless claims from Black and Hispanic/Latinx Americans.
  •     Overall concern levels are decreasing over time, from 56% very concerned at the beginning of April to 43% very concerned in early May. There is also a downward trend in those who definitely intend to stay at home and avoid all non-essential contact with others (55%, compared to 69% in early April).
  •         Of the four focus states, New Yorkers are especially concerned (51%) and intend to stay at home (61%) more than the overall US population.
  •     When looking for information regarding COVID-19, respondents report trusting their physicians (79%), local (73%) and Federal (71%) public health officials the most. Personal networks (family, friends, and acquaintances) are close behind (70%).

K-12 and Postsecondary Education

  •     More parents (almost 50%) are reporting a change in their child's post high school plan. Less than half (43%) plan to go to a 4-year school, down about 7% from April 23.
  •         43% of white parents of high school students report that their children's plans have changed, compared to 59% of Black parents, and 61% of Hispanic/Latinx parents.
  •     Social media, blogs, and forums remain important resources for parents -- about 20% rely on them to support their children's learning.
  •     15% of parents don't think their children will be prepared for school next year.
  •         This is more pronounced among middle class families (roughly a fifth of parents in the $75k - $100k range feel this way).
  •     94% of parents report that their children are doing educational activities at home; 27% of parents are taking on an educator role, planning these activities for their kids.
  •         92% of parents report that their children have a dedicated device for at-home educational activities.
  •         74% report that their children have access to a laptop or desktop for learning, 46% to a tablet or iPad, and 42% to a smartphone. Looking at surveys fielded April 24-26 and May 8-10 (for a larger sample size):
  •             72% of parents with a household income less than $50,000 report that their children have access to a laptop or desktop for learning, compared to 79% of parents with a household income of more than $100,000.
  •             Children in households with an income above $100,000 are also more likely to have access to a tablet or iPad (49%), compared to 40% of children in households with an income of less than $50,000.

Social Impact of Coronavirus

  •     Employed mothers are around 60% more likely to report taking a primary role in caring for their children or educating their children at home than employed fathers (53% vs 33% for caring for children; 60% to 36% for educating children at home).
  •     We do see more parity in playing with and entertaining children; 47% of employed mothers and 53% of employed fathers report sharing that role equally with their partners.
  •     However, the heavier responsibility of children for working mothers is not alleviated by a smaller burden in working to support the family. 54% of employed mothers and 41% of employed fathers report that they share an equal responsibility to work to support their family with their spouse or partner.

"There's no doubt that the global pandemic has created a 'new normal'," said Ana Chen, Applied Data Science Lead at Civis Analytics. "Running one survey gives you a good macro-level understanding of the average American experience, but may hide the variation that exists under the overarching national narrative. Starting this project early with ongoing surveys allows us to both track shifts over time and get a large enough sample size to see the unique impact of the crisis on a diverse population. Understanding how people are impacted and affected by COVID-19 is a critical aspect of charting a path forward."

 

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