Each week CivicScience reports key findings from the dozens of questions surveying consumers on their behaviors, intent, and sentiment as they relate to the coronavirus pandemic and comfort getting back to a semblance of normalcy. Here’s the most recent data.


After comfort attending major events hit an all-time high two weeks ago–when 29% of adults said they were comfortable doing so–the most recent CivicScience data show that has since decreased to just 23% of adults.

Other notable findings observed in the data this week were actually a continuation from last week. For the second week in a row, high percentages of people report that they plan to dine-in at a restaurant in the next week. That’s a good sign for the restaurant industry, but still pales in comparison to the pre-COVID era.

Similarly, for the second week in a row, a higher percentage of adults say that they plan to travel via airplane in the next month. However, people at large are still lukewarm on making holiday travel plans.

Overall concern about being in public spaces right now is consistent with last week’s numbers, with 75% of American adults reporting some level of concern. 

In addition, expectations for having to practice social distancing for months to come also remain high, with 46% of Americans predicting they’ll have to do so for six or more months.

Furthermore, other than attending public events, consumer comfort resuming almost all normal activities remains mostly flat with the prior week’s numbers.

Schooling During a Pandemic

All the dining out, traveling, and event-going aside, American parents deserve a shout-out.

One topic that is top of mind for a large swath of the population –i.e., parents– is school. Yes, the dreaded school conversation. 

According to CivicScience polling of U.S. parents conducted in late September, most report that their children are attending school online, either completely or via a hybrid model.

And, while the new rules for online or in-person classes are taxing for parents and caregivers, most report faring alright, or at least as expected, so far.

However, it appears this is driven by those who still get to drop their child(ren) off for in-person class and not leading online learning, either themselves or coordinating who will.

The Schooling Mood

To be sure, those whose children are attending school in-person are reporting higher levels of happiness than their counterparts.

No surprise then that these parents are also much less stressed than those whose kids are learning virtually, even part-time.

Economic Factors (and Job Impact) on Schooling Success

Parents in lower-income households are reporting that their children’s schooling has been going ‘much better’ than expected so far, more so than upper income families.

And, this continues even though this group is more impacted when it comes to their ability to work from home effectively while also schooling their children.

Schooling Status and Comfort Venturing Out Are Highly Correlated

Parents whose children are attending school in person, even part time, are more likely to plan to dine-in at a restaurant in the coming week compared to their online-only counterparts. This makes sense if these people (and their kids) are used to doing more things in person than those families who are doing online learning.

A flip-side story is that of grocery delivery adoption. Those whose kids are learning virtually over-index in having used grocery delivery services.

Households who are doing online learning with their kids are also shopping in non-grocery stores ‘much less’ than they usually would for this time of year. Why leave if you don’t have to –or likely in many cases– don’t have the time to? Convenience and comfort are likely equally important in this case.

But how does schooling location status among families correlate with retailer favorability? For starters, those whose kids are learning online, either in part or in full, are much more favorable to Target than those whose kids are in-person. In contrast, those who are doing in-person only are more likely than their parental (school status) counterparts to be favorable to Walmart. Overall, though, more of the population is favorable to Target at large. Considering that people whose kids are in school in-person are more likely to shop in stores, maybe Target is slightly more likely than Walmart to see these parents roaming the aisles.

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