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Social & Well-being

Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey

The Social Impact of COVID-19 surveys were undertaken to measure the impact COVID-19 has had on Irish society in 2020. The results presented from these surveys have been weighted to best reflect the population. Due to time and resource constraints, there were limitations on the sample size and selection methodology. Consequently, caution must be exercised when making inferences to the entire population from these results. Nonetheless, this data provides a valuable insight into the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of many people in Ireland.

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Where available, personal satisfaction and well-being data collected in the Social Impact of COVID-19 survey is compared to data collected through the Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) in 2013 and 2018.  While the methodologies of the two surveys differ, the corresponding results from SILC are included to provide some context to the results presented.

Link to release: Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey April 2020

X-axis label20132018April 2020
Being very nervous21.118.235.5
Feeling downhearted or depressed21.313.432.4
Feeling lonely1 16.926.6

Not collected in 2013.

of respondents Very or Extremely concerned about household stress from confinement, April 2020
X-axis label20132018April 2020August 2020
Overall life satisfaction31.444.312.216.3
Satisfaction with financial situation12.92825.825.4
Satisfaction with personal relationships60.26042.443.1

Link to release: Social Impact of COVID-19 August 2020: The Reopening of Schools

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Respondents of the Social Impact of COVID-19 survey were all aged 18 years and over, with over four in five (80.6%) respondents stating they consume alcohol. Of these, 22.2% said that their alcohol consumption had Increased since the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions, 17.2% said their consumption had Decreased.

Link to release:  Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey April 2020

Increase in consumption of junk food in female respondents, April 2020
Table 30.1 Increase/Decrease in Behaviour since the Implementation of COVID-19 Restrictions, April 2020
 % change
Alcohol Consumption22.217.2
Tobacco Consumption30.58.6
Junk Food and Sweets Consumption45.412.3
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Consumption27.312.4
Frequency of Exercise37.133.2
Time Spent Watching TV44.39.2
Time Spent on the Internet59.12.8
Source: CSO
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Results from the first Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey conducted in April may provide some context for weight change reported in June. In April, 45.4% of respondents reported an increase in their junk food and sweets consumption, while 37.1% reported an increase in frequency of exercise.

Link to release: Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey June 2020: A Snapshot of Experiences and Expectations in a Pandemic

X-axis labelIncreasedDecreasedNo change
All Respondents40.913.745.4
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of respondents reported reduced expenditure since the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions, June 2020
of respondents reported increased income since the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions, June 2020

Savings was the most commonly reported way respondents intended to use some additional money, with 51.1% of respondents reporting they have or will put all or some of this money aside.  Home improvements and furnishings (46.9%) was the second most popular, followed by Garden improvements and furnishings (36.3%). 

Link to release: Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey June 2020: A Snapshot of Experiences and Expectations in a Pandemic

X-axis labelSpending/Intention of Spending with Additional Available Money
Home Improvements and Furnishings46.9
Garden Improvements and Furnishings36.3
Future Holidays26.3
Debt Reduction16.6
Recreational Goods9.5
Motor Vehicles8.3
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of respondents reported feeling Very Uncomfortable with the prospect of going to a pub with 1 metre social distancing almost double that of 2 metres (21.3%), June 2020

Respondents expressed less concern with going to a restaurant compared to a pub, with 28.7% indicating they would be Very Uncomfortable with one metre social distancing and 12.9% with two metres social distancing.

Link to release: Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey June 2020: Measuring Comfort Levels around the Easing of Restrictions

Table 30.2 Comfort Levels Around the Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions, June 2020
 Level of comfort/discomfort %
Activity typeVery UncomfortableUncomfortableNeither Comfortable nor UncomfortableComfortableVery Comfortable
Going to Pubs and Restaurant with Social Distancing
Pub /Bar - 2 metres21.336.
Pub/Bar - 1 metre 39.527.111.716.75.0
Restaurant - 2 metres 12.928.517.632.58.4
Restaurant - 1 metre 28.727.113.424.26.5
Attending Outdoor Events and Religious Services
Outdoor Events with a Large Crowd - no social distancing49.432.
Place of Worship for a Religious Service - social distancing rules18.129.515.131.35.9
Going to Hairdressers & Shopping Centres
Shopping Centre8.529.
Children’s Activities and Household Gatherings
Allowing your Child Participate in Sports - with close physical contact19.035.612.827.65.0
Sending your Child to Childcare/Creche24.632.415.619.77.6
Having 6 Visitors to your Home for an Indoor Social Gathering12.824.217.034.311.7
Attending Healthcare Appointments     
GP 2.615.918.946.516.1
Hospital 9.224.416.638.411.4
Transport and Travel     
Public Transport - subject to social distancing rules27.835.512.620.53.7
Domestic Trip with Hotel Accommodation13.625.116.233.411.7
International Trip by Plane45.532.
International Trip by Ferry31.032.314.916.55.2
Source: CSO
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In August 2020, 75.4% of respondents rated their compliance with current government advice and guidelines as High compared to six in ten (59.9%) in June when the country was just about to enter Phase 3 of the Roadmap for reopening society and eight in ten (80.6%) in April approximately a month after restrictions were first introduced.

Link to release: Social Impact of COVID-19 August 2020: The Reopening of Schools

X-axis labelHighMediumLow
August 202075.422.52.1
June 202059.936.23.9
April 202080.618.40.9
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The enforced closure of schools in March 2020 brought about significant changes to the lives of school children in Ireland over the period from March to June. Children’s learning, social development and time spent learning were impacted with children undertaking learning at home and interacting with their teachers and class mates in different ways.

Link to release: Social Impact of COVID-19 August 2020: The Reopening of Schools

of responding parents/guardians with a child in senior cycle in secondary school reported that school closures had a Major or Moderate negative effect on their child's learning, August 2020
X-axis labelLearning - Primary studentsSocial Development - Primary studentsLearning - Secondary studentsSocial Development - Secondary students
Major or Moderate negative impact40.742.245.743.2
of responding parents/guardians with secondary school students reported their child spent 2 hours or less a day on learning activities provided by their school during enforced closures, August 2020
X-axis label5 or more hours4 hours3 hours2 hours1 or less hours
All Primary2.9822.641.625
Junior Primary3.52.412.136.645.4
Senior Primary2.71127.643.115.6
X-axis label5 or more hours4 hours3 hours2 hours1 or less hours
All Secondary29.99.519.324.416.9
Junior Secondary369.823.922.18.3
Transition Year2.69.6538.344.4
Senior Secondary 1 45.78.322.113.210.7

1Senior cycle secondary students refer to 5th year in the academic year 2019/20, as data was not collected on sixth year students for this period.

of responding parents/guardians with a child in secondary school reported having a child that was worried about falling behind due to lockdown, August 2020
X-axis labelSecondaryPrimary
Catching or Spreading COVID-1946.333.9
Social Distancing Rules In School40.124.7
Having Fallen Behind Because Of Lockdown 1 36.20
Reconnecting With Class Mates2823.5
Other Worries2311.7
Leaving The Home8.117.4

1Not asked of parents/guardians of primary children.

of female responding parents/guardians with a child in primary school may have to give up work if schools were to close again, August 2020
X-axis labelMaleFemale
Could Work From Home32.831.74
Don't Know21.429.1
Take Holidays/Unpaid Leave20.820.6
May Have To Give Up Work3.916.9
No Effect27.312.4