Finances and relationships in the pandemic: POLL

Americans are more apt to say their family’s finances have gotten worse rather than better in the coronavirus pandemic, and those impacts have a carry-on influence on personal relationships — evidence of the multiple risks the pandemic has caused more vulnerable populations.

Twenty-two percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll say their family’s finances have worsened since the pandemic began, while 14% have seen financial gains; the rest report no change. One in five also reports weaker relationships with family and friends.

See PDF for full results, charts, and tables.

Those impacts are related. People with worse finances are more apt also to say their personal relationships have gotten weaker rather than stronger, by 29-17%. In an opposite result, those who report better finances say by 29-18% that their relationships are stronger.

Indeed, in a statistical analysis known as regression, having worse finances independently predicts having weaker personal relationships, controlling for demographic variables including age, sex, race/ethnicity, education and income.

The survey, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, also finds that economic impacts have landed disproportionately. Thirty-one percent of people with annual household incomes less than $50,000 report worse finances compared with pre-pandemic times, as do 30% of Hispanics, 27% of rural residents, 25% of women and 24% of those who don’t hold a college degree. Such impacts are least apparent among people with post-graduate degrees (11%), those with $100,000-plus incomes (12%) and seniors (13%).

In addition to their connection with personal relationships, these economic impacts also inform views of the national economy more broadly. As reported Sunday, just 42% of Americans say the economy is in excellent or good shape. That includes 60% of those whose finances have improved during the pandemic — vs. just 20% of those whose finances have suffered.

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone April 18-21, 2021, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,007 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 percentage points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 33-24-35%, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling and data collection by Abt Associates of Rockville, Md. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

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