Being out in public continued it’s recent zig-zag of week-by-week levels of concern, but declined since the week of Christmas, when we saw the highest levels of concern reported since mid-August. 

Social Distancing Expectations Rise

Perhaps setting up realistic expectations after cases have started to show a post-holiday surge and vaccines are off to a slower start, the number of Americans who are expecting to have to practice social distancing and isolation for six or more months has climbed in recent weeks after a period of decline.


Comfort traveling still remains low, with just one-fifth of adults reporting they’re comfortable doing so now.

COVID Vaccination Campaign

While vaccine opt-in continues to rise, there is a correlation between both those who have already received it and those who would not receive it with social-distancing expectations. Both groups believe that they won’t have to practice isolation and distancing measures for much longer.

Financial Toll

CivicScience observed an overall uptick in consumer economic sentiment in the new year, and an increasing percentage of people who expect their personal financial situations to stay the same over the next six months.

Digging in deeper, according to a new CivicScience survey launched in late December 2020, more than one-quarter of American adults say they are financially worse off than before the COVID-19 pandemic. While overall concern for the future may be going down a bit, among this segment there are some indicators that put the general population’s experience of the pandemic at odds with what people have reportedly expected out of their financial situations.

The negative impact spans generations. Those ages 18 to 24 are the most likely to say they’re worse off, but even 20% of people 65 and older say so as well. Both the youngest and oldest age groups are also the least likely to say they’re better off financially now.

The personal financial toll of the pandemic strongly correlates to concerns about the coronavirus spread at large. Those who have reported being very concerned in public in the last 90 days over-index as being worse off financially than they were prior to COVID. Conversely, those who don’t have any concerns about public spaces are much more likely to report being in  better financial standing. 

Interestingly, like the vaccine cross tabulation above, there is also a correlation between social isolation mitigation efforts and financial impact. Those who believe they will only have to practice such restrictions for less than a month over-index in being financially better off as a result of the pandemic. 

To make matters worse, those who have direct household experience with a coronavirus diagnosis are more likely to report being worse off financially than those who only know someone outside their household with a diagnosis, or don’t know of anyone who’s been diagnosed. This paints a clear picture that the financial toll of the pandemic is not only related to job loss, but also getting sick or needing to care for a loved one who is. With paid sick leave protections having expired December 31, the below stat is even more concerning.

Those who have received or plan to receive the coronavirus vaccine are more likely to be the same or worse off financially than those who won’t get it. Those who won’t get the vaccine are much more likely to say they are financially in a better situation. 

The experience one has had during the pandemic characterizes their outlook and their precautions vastly. As things progress with the vaccine campaign, additional stimulus legislation, and other economic recovery programs, CivicScience will report back on the impact on every consumer.