We polled the nation in October 2020, December 2020, and March 2021 to illuminate how US communities have experienced COVID-19. We wanted to understand:
We asked respondents to select the two issues that they thought would be their biggest challenges in the next two years. This question highlights how people are thinking about the future, and what challenges they feel lie ahead.
The future major challenges expected by respondents in both October and December of 2020 closely match the challenges that most impacted them in previous months. By comparing these responses, we can see that these are issues households face commonly and are not being addressed in a way which leads respondents to believe these problems will disappear, even post pandemic. Respondents signaled that economic challenges, such as housing, the ability to pay for basic expenses, and employment were among the most common challenges they will be worried about two years from now, with the proportion of respondents who chose these options increasing from October to December 2020. However, by March 2021, there was a slight decrease in the proportions of respondents who said they believed those would be major challenges for them in the future.
Each of these economic and social challenges likely contributes to the high rate of respondents who said they expect emotional or mental health will be one of their biggest challenges in the next two years. Furthermore, respondents were aware of future policy changes and a shifting potential for assistance in December 2020 as compared to October 2020, as by the time December polls were released, respondents knew there would be a shift in federal power with the transition to a new president. This may account for shifting attitudes related to the challenges respondents said they believe would be prevalent two years from now, specifically with regards to the ability to get and pay for medicines and nominal increase in the concern around future employment situation.
Polling was completed with support of the Walmart Foundation for our project, Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color.