ST. LEO, FL – A new set of findings from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute (https://polls.saintleo.edu) show that at least one in five Americans say they have lost income during the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a slightly smaller percentage have depleted personal savings.
The findings are from a nationwide survey of 1,000 respondents conducted from October 17 through October 23, with a margin of error for the results of plus or minus 3.0 percentage points in either direction. A parallel survey was conducted during the same time frame among 500 respondents in Florida. Those findings come with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
The polling institute, in fact, surveyed respondents on several different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Americans were asked about vaccinations and related medical questions, and about desired shifts in public policy or personal practices, as well.
In addition, the polling institute listed some situations that were commonly reported in the news media concerning income flow, children’s learning progress, and related matters that are central to a family’s or individual’s day-to-day living. To get a sense of how widespread various disruptions have been, the survey asked respondents whether or not they had encountered a range of situations. Respondents were asked to indicate all the situations that applied to them, and the percentages of those saying “yes” appears in the table. The answers appear in the order of those appearing most frequently in national sample base.
|COVID-19 Impacts||National October 2021 %||Florida October 2021 %|
|Worked from home||32.7||33.2|
|Lost a friend, relative or co-worker||25.1||32.6|
|Had employment hours reduced||17.3||21.0|
|Depleted my savings||19.8||18.8|
|Had to secure extra schooling / extra help for children falling behind in school||8.4||10.0|
The polling institute anticipated that many respondents would say they had used savings to some degree. To find out whether people report their attitudes toward savings were at all changed for the long term, the institute asked people to indicate their viewpoint now on saving. People answered by selecting just one of the statements offered—the description that best matches their situation.
|View on Saving for a Rainy Day?||National October 2021 %||Florida October 2021 %|
|Prior to COVID-19, saving for a rainy day was and will remain important to me||52.7||51.4|
|COVID-19 has prompted me to plan for and save for that “rainy day”||23.3||27.6|
|Savings is not possible for me, so I am worried about a future financial crisis||13.9||13.8|
|Unsure / Don’t know||10.1||7.2|
Dr. Cheryl Kozina, who teaches biology and medical humanities at Saint Leo University, said she has found herself observing how people in different income groups are experiencing different saving and spending options. Middle-income families, whose sources of pay have continued, have not had the same opportunities as before the pandemic to travel and seek out entertainment. That presented some with what they saw as opportunities to save and others with inspiration to remodel or redecorate, she observed. Relocation, for people who can earn a middle-class income working remotely, seemed like a reasonable option—if they could go from an area with high housing and living costs to a market with lower costs, she said.
“On the flip side,” Kozina said, “looking at the numbers of people who lost jobs, lost income, lost hours at work, etc., they are probably accounting for that 13 percent who are worried about saving for a future financial crisis. People who work in fields with high turnover and few benefits [retail, service] were likely the greatest affected.” Comparing the demographic results with this answer, people with less than $40,000 in annual income were more likely to say they did not make enough to save.
Elsewhere in the survey, 46.5 percent of respondents nationally, and 50.6 percent in Florida, agree with the suggestion that they “will have less money to spend over the coming holidays because of the COVID-19 pandemic.” [The institute has additional findings on holiday consumer expectations and plans, viewable on the polling site.]
Here again, Kozina said, “I think that this has to do with those who answered that they had lost income, jobs, lost hours, etc., and I think that this would disproportionately affect retail and service industry folks.’’
About the Poll
METHODOLOGY: This national survey was conducted from October 17, 2021, through October 23, 2021, among a base of 1,000 respondents nationally, using an online instrument. The national sample has an associated margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence for questions asked of all 1,000 respondents.
The statewide survey was also conducted during the same time period, among a base of 500 respondents, using an online instrument. The sample has an associated margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence for questions asked of all 500 respondents.
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantage of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive—usually $1 deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account—for their participation.
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national and Florida politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can also be found here: http://polls.saintleo.edu. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.
Jo-Ann Johnston, Saint Leo University, University Communications email@example.com or (352) 467-0843 (cell/text).
Mary McCoy, Saint Leo University, University Writer & Media Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, (352) 588-7118 or cell (813) 610-8416.
About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University is one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation, offering 57 undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs to more than 18,200 students each year. Founded in 1889 by Benedictine monks, the private, nonprofit university is known for providing a values-based education to learners of all backgrounds and ages in the liberal arts tradition. Saint Leo is regionally accredited and offers a residential campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, 16 education centers in five states, and an online program for students anywhere. The university is home to more than 98,000 alumni. Learn more at saintleo.edu.