30 November 2020
|Due to a processing error, the 2013, 2018 and April 2020 values for the Low, Medium and High satisfaction indicators were incorrectly reported. This has resulted in minor revisions to published results. For example, the originally published percentage of respondents reporting Low life satisfaction in 2013 was 15.3%, the revised value is 15.8%. This has been corrected as of 11.00am on 13/10/21.|
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (30 November 2020) published some of the results of the fourth round of the Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey. The topics covered in this publication include well-being, changes in consumption, compliance with official COVID-19 advice and positive impacts on life since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.
Commenting on the results, Statistician, Claire Burke said: ‘The findings of the survey serve to highlight the impact that COVID-19 is having on society.
Appropriateness of Level 5 response to managing COVID-19 related risk
More than 71% of respondents believed the Level 5 response was ‘Appropriate’, 18.3% felt it was ‘Too Extreme’ while 10.2% believed it was ‘Not sufficient’. Analysis by age shows that the likelihood of a respondent feeling that the Level 5 response was ‘Appropriate’ increased with age, with 63.2% of respondents aged 18-34 agreeing that the Level 5 response was ‘Appropriate’ rising to 88.2% for those aged 70 years and over. Conversely, the likelihood of a respondent feeling that the Level 5 response was ‘Too extreme’ decreased with age, falling from 23.1% for those aged 18-34 to 5.2% for those aged 70 years and over See Concerns and Compliance.
In November 2020, more than one in three (35.6%) respondents rated their overall life satisfaction as ‘Low’. This compares with 30.5% in April 2020 and 8.8% in 2018. Respondents aged 18-34 reported the lowest levels of overall life satisfaction with 42.1% having a ‘Low’ overall life satisfaction rating.
The percentage of respondents that felt downhearted or depressed ‘All’ or ‘Most of the time’ in the four-week period prior to interview doubled between April and November 2020, from 5.5% to 11.5%. Women were twice as likely to report they felt downhearted or depressed ‘All or ‘Most of the time’ (15.5% compared with 7.3% of men). Analysis by age shows that respondents aged 18 to 34 were most likely to report being downhearted or depressed ‘All’ or ‘Most of the time’ (18.6%) increasing from 11.1% in April 2020. Those aged 55-69 and 70 years and over were least likely to report being downhearted and depressed ‘All’ or ‘Most of the time’ (6.0 and 6.1% respectively).
The percentage of respondents that felt lonely ‘All’ or ‘Most of the time’ in the four-week period prior to interview doubled between April and November 2020, from 6.8% to 13.7%. More than 17% of female respondents felt lonely ‘All’ or ‘Most of the time’ compared with 9.9% of male respondents. Younger respondents, i.e. those aged 18-34, were most likely to feel lonely ‘All’ or ‘Most of the time’ with more than one in four (25.6%) feeling this way.
Just less than 7% of respondents believe that, within the next six months, their lives will return to something like it was before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Nearly a third (32.5%) believe it will be between six and 12 months, 45.3% believe it will be between one and two years and 11.2% believe it will be two years or more before this happens. Just over 4% believe their lives will never return to normal. See Well-being.
Aspects of life that has changed for the better since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis
Nearly 45% of respondents reported that something in their lives has changed for the better since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis with more than one in two (51.0%) women and almost four in ten (38.4%) men reporting this. As age increased, the percentage reporting a positive change decreased, declining from 58.3% for those aged 18-34 to 15.9% for those aged 70 years and over.
Almost three in ten (28.7%) respondents reported more quality time with the people they live with as an aspect of their lives that has changed for the better. Almost two in ten (18.8%) reported ‘Improved finances‘ and 14.5% reported having ‘More free time‘ for hobbies as aspects of their lives that have changed for the better.
Similar percentages of workers reported a ‘Better work-life balance‘, and ’Less time commuting or travelling for work’, as aspects of their lives that have improved since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis (18.8% and 19.4%) respectively. See Lifestyle.
Changes in consumption
More than two in ten (21.1%) respondents who consume alcohol reported an increase in their alcohol consumption when compared with their consumption before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. More than one in four (26.8%) reported a decrease and more than half (52.2%) reported ‘No change’. In November 27.4% of respondents who use tobacco products said their consumption has ‘Increased’ since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, 17.4% said their consumption ‘Decreased’ and 55.1% reported ‘No change’.
More than four in ten (41.3%) respondents said that their consumption of junk food and sweets has ‘Increased’ since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. See Lifestyle.
Compliance and Other results
In November 2020, when the country was living under Level 5 restrictions, almost two-thirds (65.2%) of respondents rated their compliance with current government advice and guidelines as ‘High’, compared with three-quarters (75.4%) in August. The rate for ‘High’ compliance was lowest in June (59.9%) when the country was just about to enter Phase 3 of the Roadmap for reopening society and highest in April (80.6%) approximately a month after initial COVID-19 restrictions were implemented.
In November, more than 68.2% of female respondents rated their compliance as ‘High’ compared with 62.2% of male respondents.
Three in five (60.0%) respondents in November said they were ‘Very’ or ‘Extremely concerned’ about other people’s ability to comply with government advice and guidelines compared with 47.7% in June.
Of those working from home, 27.3% said they were finding it ‘More difficult’, 37.0% said it was getting ‘Easier’ while 35.8% said there was ‘No difference’ as time passes. In November one in six (16.4%) respondents working from home because of restrictions reported they would prefer to return to their place of work compared to more than one in three (38.8%) respondents working from home due to restrictions in April. Less than one in four (22.6%) respondents said they would prefer to 'Remain working from home' exclusively, up from 6.8% in April. Six in ten (61.0%) respondents preferred a ‘Mixture of both’ in November, an increase on the April rate of 54.4%.
Overall, respondents believed they were less likely to contract COVID-19 in November than in April. In November 84.0% of respondents believed they had a ‘Low’ chance of getting infected with COVID-19 and 16.0% believed that they had a ‘Medium’ or ‘High’ chance. The comparable rates in April were 76.3% and 23.7%.’ See Concerns and Compliance.
The Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey published today utilised an online electronic questionnaire to produce a final achieved sample size of 1,585 individuals. Due to public health guidelines regarding COVID-19, our interviewers no longer conduct CSO household surveys in the sampled households' own homes. Sample households now receive introductory letters by post asking them to ring the CSO to schedule an interview which is conducted over the phone. These surveys give us a picture of the economic and social situation of the citizens of Ireland, with a level of accuracy no one else can gain. If you are asked to take part in a CSO survey, please do so. It means that when CSO figures are quoted you know they’re accurate, Because you told us.
Further details on the methodology can be found in the Background Notes.
Claire Burke (+353) 21 453 5046 or Gerry Reilly (087) 2505165 (+353) 21 453 5700
or email ICW@cso.ie
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