We polled the nation in October 2020, December 2020, and March 2021 to illuminate how US communities have experienced COVID-19.
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 major challenges respondents expect to encounter in the next two years closely match the challenges that most impacted them in previous months. By comparing these responses for October and December 2020, we can see that the issues households faced commonly and are not being addressed in a way which leads respondents to believe these problems will disappear, even by 2022.
From October to December 2020, economic challenges were among the most common challenges people are worried about encountering two years from now. 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 contributed 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. Policy changes and shifting perceptions about potential for assistance in across the months of the poll may account for shifting attitudes related to the challenges respondents said they believe would be prevalent two years from now.
Polling was completed with support of the Walmart Foundation for our project, Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color.
Read more about our work on equity during the pandemic: COVID-19: Equitable Response and Recovery