Survey Finds a Majority of Colordans Favor Staying Home Over Opening the Economy Even With Widespread Job and Income Loss
DENVER, CO – Today, Healthier Colorado and The Colorado Health Foundation released preliminary “first look” results from Colorado’s only publicly available statewide survey on the coronavirus outbreak. The survey measures and explores the concerns, needs, experiences and attitudes of Coloradans on the coronavirus outbreak.
Initial analysis sheds light on who is experiencing financial hardship, who Coloradans trust to lead recovery efforts, and who supports the stay-at-home order. Additional data and analysis will be made available on Thursday, April 30.
Key Findings from the Preliminary Results:
- A majority of Coloradans support staying at home over reopening the economy;
- Young Coloradans and those living on low-income share greater burden of pandemic impact;
- Coloradans support local and state recovery efforts over national efforts; and
- Coloradans are both hopeful that the future will be better, but fear the worst has yet to come.
The survey found that a majority of Coloradans (64%) support a policy of staying home to slow the spread of the coronavirus, even if that means businesses will remain closed. Among the Coloradans most supportive of staying home are urban women (72%), seniors (70%), people on Medicaid (80%), African Americans (76%), and democratic-leaning individuals (80%). Those experiencing the greatest disparities in job and income loss – people ages 18-29 and people living on low incomes – also, overwhelmingly prefer this policy to another that would open the economy.
“The people are not following the stay at home orders. The coronavirus does not just extend in time, but it comes back in its second wave.” – Male, 40-44, Gilpin County
“I am worried about opening things too soon. People are thinking that everything is okay. People are trying to go back to normal, but things are getting worse.” – Female, 18-29, Weld County
Economic hardship is a prevalent reality for many Coloradans. Individuals ages 18-29 bear the brunt of job insecurity with 64% experiencing loss of job or income, while 61% of individuals on Medicaid report losing a job or income. Coloradans ages 18-29 (52%), on Medicaid (66%), and those without health insurance (62%) all reported that their financial situations have been made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. This was also supported in statements respondents made when asked what worries them at this time.
“I am worried about the economy, how it is going to recover, and how small businesses [will] respond back.” – Male, 55-59, Adams County
“I’m worried about finding work, the finances, and the bills. I’m worried how we are going to make it to the future, not knowing how far we can go with our income.” – Female, 55-59, Elbert County
While young Coloradans and those living on low income experience greater instances of job and income loss, they are also more likely to be working outside of the home and risk contracting the coronavirus. Of the 622 respondents who reported that they were still working, the largest group of people working outside of their home were individuals ages 18-29 (44%). Alternatively, just 29% of people earning less than $30,000 a year said they were working from home compared to 59% of people earning between $75,000 and $100,000 and 69% of people earning more than $100,000.
Coloradans are hopeful, but uneasy with 43% of respondents feeling the worst has yet come. Conversely, 78% of people feel their financial situation will be better or about the same a year from now, indicating that Coloradans are optimistic that current and future policies will thwart further economic downturns. Coloradans also express confidence in state leadership and response efforts. Fifty percent of people feel Governor Jared Polis is either extremely or very trustworthy and 57% feel the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is extremely or very trustworthy. Local governments and school districts also received high trustworthiness ratings. When asked who should lead coronavirus response efforts, 56% of Coloradans think the state should lead the efforts.
“The survey confirms that Coloradans have been hit hard economically,” said Healthier Colorado’s Executive Director Jake Williams, “but the data also makes it clear that people don’t want to be rushed back to work until they can do it safely, without putting their loved ones and coworkers at risk. Until we can create a safer environment through testing and other means, the data shows that Coloradans – especially those who earn lower incomes – need financial support and a commitment from policymakers to prioritize their needs in Colorado's recovery efforts."
"Our research affirms what we've heard from leaders across the state: young people and Coloradans living on low income are bearing the brunt of this public health crisis and feel uncertain about their future," said Karen McNeil-Miller, president and CEO of The Colorado Health Foundation. "It also shows that we still care for the well-being of each other. Coloradans want to ensure policies are enacted to not only help slow the spread of the virus, but that we address the concerns of those who have been the most impacted."
A copy of the first look survey results and analysis is located at Healthier Colorado. Due to the large scope of this survey, the data will be made available in two phases. The first phase will be a partial release of survey data on Monday, April 27, followed by the release of all data and analysis on Thursday, April 30.
Details on the poll:
- The survey sampled the adult resident population of Colorado based on the 2019 U.S. Census (age 18 or older);
- The poll interviewed 1,000 Coloradans plus an over sample (100) of African American adults;
- The overall margin of error is +/- 3.1%; and
- The focus of the survey is to measure and understand the concerns, needs, experiences and attitudes of Coloradans in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
About Healthier Colorado
Healthier Colorado is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to raising the voices of Coloradans in the public policy process to improve the health of our state’s residents. We believe that every Coloradan should have a fair chance at living a healthy life. For more information, please visit www.healthiercolorado.org.