25 February 2021
Go to release: Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey February 2021: Well-being
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 (25 February 2021) published some of the results of the fifth round of the Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey. The primary topic covered in this publication is Well-being. Tomorrow (26 February 2021), the CSO will publish additional results from this survey which will focus on the Impact of School Closures on Students’ Learning and Social Development. On 1 March 2021, further results from this survey will be published which will cover the topics of Holiday Plans in 2021 and COVID-19 Vaccination.
Commenting on the results, Senior Statistician, Gerry Reilly said: “The findings of the survey serve to highlight the impact that COVID-19 is having on well-being.
In February 2021, more than four in ten (41.7%) respondents rated their overall life satisfaction as ‘Low’. This is the highest rating for ‘Low’ overall life satisfaction captured in CSO surveys to date. In 2013 when many households were suffering the effects of the 2007 financial crisis, this rate was 15.9% and it dropped to 8.8% in 2018 when the economy was growing strongly. In April 2020, during the first COVID-19 wave, three in ten (30.5%) respondents rated their overall life satisfaction as ‘Low’. The rate increased to 35.6% in November 2020, during the second COVID-19 wave.
Almost six in ten (57.1%) respondents to the February 2021 survey reported that their mental health/well-being has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost three in four (74.4%) of those aged 18-34 reported this negative effect, compared to less than one in three (32.4%) respondents aged 70 and over. Female respondents were more likely to report that their mental health/well-being has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with more than six in ten (62.4%) reporting this effect. The comparable rate for male respondents was just over five in ten (51.7%).
Overall, 4.2% of respondents reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has positively affected their mental health. Analysis by sex shows that female respondents were more likely to report a positive effect, with 6.7% reporting this, compared with 1.6% of male respondents.
The percentage of respondents that felt downhearted or depressed ‘All or Most of the time’ in the four-week period prior to interview was 5.5% during the first COVID-19 wave (April 2020), this rate increased to 11.5% during the second wave (November 2020) and the rate during the third wave (February 2021) is 15.1%. Analysis by age shows that in February 2021, one in five (20.5%) respondents aged 18 to 34 reported being downhearted or depressed ‘All or Most of the time’ compared with 5.7% of those aged 70 years and over.
Almost 17% of female respondents felt lonely ‘All or Most of the time’ in the four-week period prior to interview compared with 9.2% of male respondents. Respondents living in rented accommodation were twice as likely to report feeling lonely ‘All or Most of the time’ than those in owner-occupied dwellings (22.2% vs 10.3%).
Compliance and other results
In February 2021, three in four (75.1%) respondents rated their compliance with current government advice and guidelines as ’High’. This is ten percentage points higher than the rate in November 2020, when 65.2% of respondents rated their compliance as ’High’. Respondents reporting ‘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 one month after initial COVID-19 restrictions were implemented.
In November 2020 one in ten (10.2%) respondents felt that the Level 5 response to managing COVID-19 related risk was ‘Not sufficient’. In February 2021 more than one in four (26.4%) feel that the current Level 5 response is ‘Not sufficient’. In November 2020, 18.3% of respondents felt that the Level 5 response to managing COVID-19 related risk was ‘Too extreme’. In February 2021 this rate has dropped to 13.1%.
In November 2020, four in ten (39.2%) respondents thought that by November 2021 their lives would return to something similar to what it was pre-COVID-19. In February 2021, 23.6% of respondents think this will happen by November 2021.
Six in ten (61.4%) respondents believe that once current Level 5 restrictions are eased that similar restrictions will be reimposed before the end of the year. Respondents living in households with children were more likely to report that they believe that similar restrictions will be reimposed with 71.0% of such respondents reporting this.”
The Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey published today utilised an online electronic questionnaire to produce a final achieved sample size of 1,621 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.
Gerry Reilly (087) 2505165 (+353) 21 453 5700 or Claire Burke (+353) 21 453 5046
or email ICW@CSO.ie
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