Daily Life Has Gotten Worse for Nearly 2 in 5 Adults During Pandemic, Survey Shows

Urban adults three times as likely as those in rural areas to report improvements to daily life
Worried over her husband Marvin (R), and son Junior's health after receiving uncertain COVID-19 test results for them, Guatemalan immigrant Zully cries in quarantine on May 7, 2020, in Stamford, Conn. (John Moore/Getty Images)
December 08, 2020 at 3:15 pm UTC

Key Takeaways

  • 37% of adults say their daily lives have gotten worse during the pandemic, while 19% say their lives have gotten better and 38% report no change.

  • Urban adults are more likely than those in rural areas to report improvements to their relationships, finances and health during COVID-19.

Nearly 2 in 5 adults say their daily lives have gotten worse during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Morning Consult survey that asked how people’s relationships, finances and health have fared since COVID-19 struck.

Even so, 19 percent of adults said their day-to-day lives have gotten better during the pandemic in the survey, while 38 percent said there had been no change. People living in urban areas were three times as likely as those in rural America to say their lives have gotten better, 30 percent to 10 percent.

The survey was conducted Oct. 12-15 among 1,000 adults, and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points. Since then, the number of coronavirus cases in the United States has nearly doubled, rising to 14.7 million as of Monday, up from just under 8 million on Oct. 16, according to the COVID Tracking Project. More than 64,000 people died from COVID-19 in those 52 days, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a grim employment report last week that indicates nearly 10 million fewer people were employed in November than in February.

Urban adults were also more likely to say their relationships with romantic partners, friends and children have improved during the pandemic, as well as their physical and mental health, personal finances and career and work lives. Twenty-seven percent of adults in urban areas said their careers had improved, for example, compared with 11 percent of people in rural communities. The survey’s urban and suburban samples had 5-point margins of error, while rural groups had a 6-point margin of error.

Yet there were few differences in the shares of people in urban, suburban and rural areas who said things have gotten worse for them during the pandemic. Overall, adults were most likely to say their personal finances had been negatively affected, at 39 percent, while 28 percent said their careers and work lives had worsened.

Another 36 percent of adults said their mental health has suffered, while a quarter said their physical health has gotten worse. Roughly half of adults said their physical health hasn’t changed, the greatest share among “stayed the same” responses of any question in the survey.

Adults were least likely to say their relationships with their children have gotten worse during the pandemic, at 10 percent, while 27 percent said those relationships have improved. Meanwhile, 14 percent said their romantic relationships have deteriorated and 25 percent said the same of their relationships with friends.

A headshot photograph of Gaby Galvin
Gaby Galvin

Gaby Galvin previously worked at Morning Consult as a reporter covering health.

We want to hear from you. Reach out to this author or your Morning Consult team with any questions or comments.Contact Us