To monitor the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the habits and attitudes of Americans, Consumer Reports’ American Experiences Survey team again interviewed a nationally representative sample of Americans. This time, 2,670 U.S. adults were polled between Oct. 8 and Oct. 26. 

Concern Remains High

As COVID-19 cases began to increase again across the country, the majority of Americans continued to express concern about the spread of the virus in their local areas.

Most Americans Would Wait to Be Vaccinated

Only 12 percent of Americans reported that they would feel comfortable getting a COVID-19 vaccination immediately after one is released. The majority said they would wait at least three months, or would not get it at all, when asked about how soon they would feel comfortable getting it after release.

Fewer Americans Very Likely to Get a Vaccine

In October, fewer than 1 in 3 people indicated that they were “very likely” to get a vaccine. (Note that the survey was taken prior to the November elections and recent release of Pfizer trial data.)

Black Americans Are Much Less Confident in Vaccine Safety

Black respondents were much less likely to have confidence in the safety of a COVID-19 vaccine if one became available today than Hispanic and white respondents.

This multimode survey was fielded by NORC at the University of Chicago using a nationally representative sample of 2,670 U.S. adults. The survey was conducted Oct. 8 to Oct. 26, 2020, in English and in Spanish. The survey was directed by Karen Jaffe, associate director of survey research at Consumer Reports, and Jane Manweiler, senior research associate at CR. 

September 2020 Survey

To monitor the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the habits and attitudes of Americans, Consumer Reports’ American Experiences Survey team again interviewed a nationally representative sample of Americans, this time 2,303 U.S. adults polled from Sept. 11 through Sept. 21. CR found that Americans are taking even more precautionary measures because of the pandemic.

Voting by Mail

With the pandemic still affecting communities across the country, 35 percent of Americans indicated that they would vote by mail in the November elections. If they follow through with their plans, that will be considerably higher than the 20.9 percent of votes cast via mail in the 2016 presidential election.

More People Are Wearing Masks

The number of people who reported always wearing a mask in indoor public spaces ticked up again in September.
 

More Are Likely to Support Businesses That Follow Safety Guidelines

An increased number of Americans now say they’re more likely to support businesses that follow COVID-19 safety guidelines, such as wearing a mask. Those that indicated support increased from 59 percent in June to 68 percent in September.

This multimode survey was fielded by NORC at the University of Chicago using a nationally representative sample. The survey was conducted Sept. 11 to Sept. 21, 2020, in English and Spanish. It was directed by Karen Jaffe, associate director of survey research at Consumer Reports, and Tess Yanisch, survey research associate at CR.

August 2020 Survey

To monitor the impact COVID-19 is having on the habits and attitudes of Americans, Consumer Reports’ American Experiences Survey team again interviewed a nationally representative sample of Americans, this time of 2,236 adults from Aug. 7 through Aug. 19. CR found that Americans were less concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in August than they were in July but are being cautious in their spending habits and willingness to fly.

Overall Concern About the Spread of COVID-19 Dropped in August

After peaking in July, Americans’ overall concern about the spread of COVID-19 in their local areas fell somewhat in August.

Americans Are Spending Less

Over half of Americans are being more cautious about spending than they were before the coronavirus pandemic began. While spending patterns are generally consistent among age groups, high earners are the least likely to report being much more cautious about spending.

Not Ready to Fly

Half of Americans would fly only for an important event or a reason such as a family emergency. The majority of them say that strict rules around social distancing and wearing masks would need to be in place for them to feel comfortable flying. Nineteen percent would not feel comfortable flying unless they had a COVID-19 vaccine.

This multimode survey was fielded by NORC at the University of Chicago using a nationally representative sample. The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to Aug. 19, 2020, in English and in Spanish. The survey was directed by Karen Jaffe, associate director of survey research at Consumer Reports, and Tess Yanisch, survey research associate at CR.

July 2020 Survey

Following a surge in COVID-19 cases after broad reopenings around the country, Consumer Reports’ American Experiences Survey team again interviewed a nationally representative sample of adults, with 2,031 polled between July 9 and July 20. CR found that Americans are more concerned with the spread of the virus than they were in previous surveys and that they’ve been scaling up precautions, with more people reporting wearing masks in public. The survey also found more pronounced growth in concern among Black and Hispanic Americans.

Americans Are More Worried

As COVID-19 caseloads have spiked in many parts of the country, more Americans have become concerned about the spread of the virus in their areas.

More Black, Hispanic Americans ‘Very Concerned’

Although there was a strong increase among all respondents who reported being “very concerned” about the spread of COVID-19 (41 percent in June to 53 percent in July), the increase among Black and Hispanic respondents who reported being “very concerned” grew even more dramatically compared with the previous month.

 

Women Are More Concerned Than Men

Women have consistently reported greater concern than men over the spread of COVID-19. In June, the gap between women and men who said they were “very concerned” widened by 16 percentage points. But concern among men rose dramatically in July, narrowing the gap to 9 percentage points.

Mask Usage Has Increased

Amid increased concern over the spread of COVID-19, a higher percentage of Americans surveyed reported always wearing a mask when they’re in indoor public spaces.

Mask Usage Varies Based on Location

Mask usage across the U.S. hasn’t been consistent, the survey shows. More residents in the Northeast and the West report always wearing a mask when they’re in indoor public spaces, while those living in the South and the Midwest were less likely to do so.

 

A Split on In-School Education

With the start of the traditional school year approaching when the survey was conducted, a majority of Americans with school-age children at home reported they were not confident that their schools could prevent the spread of COVID-19 if they reopen for in-person classes.

 

Black and Hispanic Americans Concerned About School Reopenings

When compared with the general population, a higher percentage of Black and Hispanic Americans reported that they would prefer that schools remain closed, with students attending all classes online.

 

This multimode survey was fielded by NORC at the University of Chicago using a nationally representative sample. The survey was conducted July 9 to July 20, 2020, in English and Spanish. The survey was directed by Karen Jaffe, Consumer Reports’ associate director of survey research, and Jane Manweiler, survey research associate at CR.

June 2020 Survey

As many states across the U.S. were lifting lockdowns in June and everything from bars to beaches was reopening, Consumer Reports’ American Experiences Survey team once again interviewed a nationally representative sample of adults. This time, 1,014 people were polled between June 4 and June 16. CR discovered that a majority of Americans were still worried about the spread of COVID-19 near them. Those fears have been borne out by the surge of virus infections in several states.

Virus Transmission Concerns Remain High

While states across the U.S. allowed restaurants, bars, stores, and beaches to reopen, Americans reported that they were just as worried as they were a month earlier about the spread of the virus.
 

Americans Say They’re Distancing and Wearing Masks

Of those Americans who’ve ventured out in recent days, most say they are following safety precautions recommended by health experts, such as donning masks in indoor public spaces and keeping 6 feet away from others wherever they go.
 

Black and Hispanic Americans Are More Likely to Wear Masks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that people of color are much more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than white Americans. So it’s notable that they are more likely than white Americans to report always using masks, and Black Americans are most likely to report always socially distancing from others in public. 

Older Americans Are Feeling More Worried

Statistics show that COVID-19 is more likely to cause serious illness and death in older adults, so perhaps it’s no surprise that more than half of Americans 60-plus are very concerned about the virus’ spread near them.
 

But Some Younger Americans Are Eager for Reopenings

As states were lifting restrictions put into place to minimize transmission of COVID-19, we asked Americans what changes they might start making in their daily lives. While the majority planned to do things such as go shopping or to the gym the same amount or less than they did pre-COVID-19, a quarter of Americans ages 18 to 29 said they would be heading to shops and gyms more often than before the pandemic.

 

Many Americans Support Businesses That Take COVID-19 Seriously

The majority of Americans are more likely to support businesses that require both their employees and customers to wear masks and keep 6 feet away from each other, as recommended by health experts. Most also believe that stores should, by law, be able to deny service to customers who fail to follow their safety guidelines.

This multimode survey was fielded by NORC at the University of Chicago using a nationally representative sample. The survey was conducted June 4 to 16, 2020. The survey was directed by Karen Jaffe, Consumer Reports’ associate director of survey research, and Jane Manweiler, survey research associate at CR.

May 2020 Survey

As COVID-19 continued its deadly spread across the U.S. in May, Consumer Reports’ survey team once again interviewed a nationally representative sample of adults (this time, 2,085 people were polled from May 8 to 18) seeking to learn whether Americans felt the coronavirus pandemic would change their lives in the future—how they work, play, shop, travel, pray, and much more. Important note: This new survey was taken prior to the killing of George Floyd and the protests against systemic racism that followed, revealing that even in mid-May many Americans believed life in the U.S. was in a serious upheaval.

Concerns for Virus Transmission Stay High

As states began lifting restrictions that had been put in place to minimize transmission of COVID-19—such as closing restaurants and beaches—most Americans still had strong concerns about the spread of the virus.

More Black and Hispanic Americans Are Highly Concerned

Our April survey revealed that Black and Hispanic respondents were hit harder by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. When we asked in May about the further spread of the virus, both groups were more likely to be highly concerned than white Americans about the virus’ spread.

Life in the U.S. Will Never Be the Same

Even as restrictions were being lifted in some parts of the U.S. in mid-May, most Americans said they would be making at least some permanent changes to their daily lives because of COVID-19. Only 16 percent believe they will go back to living life as they did before the virus.

More Black Respondents Plan Life-Altering Changes

Still more evidence that COVID-19 has had a deeper impact on Black Americans: Even before the killing of George Floyd, Black Americans responded that the impact of the virus had permanently changed the way they would live their lives.

What Americans Want to Do ASAP

As quarantines and closures begin to lift across the U.S., many Americans say that within a month of reopening, they’ll get their hair and/or nails done and head to beaches, restaurants, houses of worship, and other meeting places.

Trains, Gyms, Rock Concerts? Maybe Not.

Some of our respondents declared they would never again ride on subways or buses, work out in gyms, or even go to movie theaters in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many Would Get a Vaccine . . . but Some Wouldn't

In spite of the deadliness of COVID-19, one-third of Americans tell us they’re not likely to get a coronavirus vaccine if one becomes available.

Why Some Americans Wouldn't Get Vaccinated

Safety concerns about the vaccine are the leading reason that one-third of Americans are not likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine when offered. Some also don’t believe that the coronavirus is a serious health threat.

This multimode survey was fielded by NORC at the University of Chicago using a nationally representative sample. The survey was conducted May 8 to 18, 2020. The survey was directed by Karen Jaffe, Consumer Reports’ associate director of survey research, and Debra Kalensky, senior research associate at CR.

April 2020 Survey

When COVID-19 was spreading across the U.S. in early March, Consumer Reports’ survey team began to track how the coronavirus pandemic was changing Americans’ lives. We interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,079 adults in the first two weeks of March, and then 2,164 adults in the first two weeks of April (captured here), seeking insight about the virus’ impact on our jobs, finances, social lives, shopping, and much more. We will continue to update this page over the next few months with our latest findings.   

Virus Transmission Concerns Jumped

In just one month, the percentage of Americans who reported feeling highly concerned about the widespread transmission of the coronavirus has increased dramatically.

Note: March survey asked participants their level of concern about the possibility of widespread transmission; April survey asked level of concern about widespread transmission.

An Economic and Emotional Toll

Americans revealed in our April survey that the coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic effect on their finances and on their sense of well-being.  

Not Everyone Is Affected Equally

Those who are Hispanic, Black, or younger than 45 are more likely to have been economically hit hard by COVID-19, with more losing income and falling behind on mortgages or rent, according to our April survey. 

Lives Put on Hold

An overwhelming number of those surveyed in April who had important plans affecting their future health or finances reported that they had to delay or cancel those plans because of COVID-19.

Americans who, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, were considering doing each of the above in the next year.

Trying to Stay Safe From COVID-19

Over the course of a few weeks, Americans quickly ramped up the precautions and preparations they were taking to protect themselves in the face of the widening coronavirus pandemic. 

Some Things Americans Are Buying Now

In our April survey, we asked people about a few items and services they might have bought in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the percentages of people who purchased or upgraded one of these products or services in recent weeks.

. . . And Things They Can't Find Anywhere

Shortages are a way of life now. But some products have practically disappeared from store shelves. Here are the percentages of Americans who couldn’t track down the following items.