Blog & News
State-Specific Surveys Encompassing Residents’ COVID-19 ExperiencesOriginal blog posted on June 12, 2020:
Updated on October 9, 2020
Introduction and Purpose
One of the ways that states are responding to the novel coronavirus epidemic is to gather timely information from residents on their personal experiences and opinions regarding the pandemic. Such real-time information helps states effectively plan for current and impending impacts of this unprecedented public health crisis. The crisis has had significant impacts, including loss of employment and income, disruptions in employer-sponsored insurance coverage, and increased need for testing and treatment of COVID-19. State COVID-19 surveys can supplement and improve upon national data collection by providing needed information at the regional, state, and local levels. In addition, state polls and surveys can be tailored to address each state’s experience with the coronavirus and its priorities.
This blog from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) provides a summary of state efforts to capture information on the coronavirus pandemic through state and local surveys fielded between March 2020 and September 2020. We include information on topics covered within the surveys as well as some results, in certain cases where they are available. Additionally, we have put together a clickable state-level map that provides links to the data collection instruments and results we identified in our search. Since our last update in August, we have identified 24 new surveys and five updated surveys. We encourage you to explore the survey information we collected by clicking on one of the blue highlighted states on the map below.
Note: The majority of the survey sources saved here include both survey questions and topline results. In some instances, we were not able to find information from the survey source, and instead included news articles referencing the results and methodology of the survey. Updates to previously identified surveys are noted.
SHADAC researchers conducted a targeted scan of state data collection efforts, namely surveys and polls, conducted by state agencies and other state and local stakeholders (e.g., universities, foundations, etc.). Sponsors and commissioners of these surveys include state universities, state and local health departments, health policy groups, and partnerships between universities and the media. We searched for surveys that included questions on the following:
- attitudes and beliefs about health-related issues of the pandemic;
- opinions about the state response to the pandemic;
- impact of COVID-19 on health and health care for individuals and families;
- impact of COVID-19 on loss of employment, loss of income, and disruptions in employer-sponsored health insurance; and
- knowledge and use of health and social safety net services.
The purpose of this scan was to provide an inventory of state-focused primary data collection efforts as well as to identify areas of commonality between these efforts. Search terms used in the most recent scan included the state name, “COVID-19” (and variations thereof), and “survey.” We focused primarily on surveys related to individuals’ access to needed health care, opinions on public health response, and disruptions in health insurance coverage. We excluded opinion polls conducted by market research firms and the media to gauge public opinion on administration of the crisis. Surveys of school districts and businesses were considered outside of the scope of our scan, as well.
States represented: We conducted a scan across all 50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.). We found 35 states with population-based surveys on health topics related to the coronavirus. Of those states, the number of surveys per state ranged from one to nine, though most states did not have more than four surveys. We identified two new surveys and one updated survey for a total of nine surveys in California that matched our criteria, each with slightly different focus areas. For example, we previously identified a survey sponsored by the California Health Care Foundation that was primarily interested in health care access and affordability. Another survey from the University of California—Berkley focused on issues related to specific vulnerable communities like farmworkers and people of color. We also included the larger California Health Interview Survey, which asks questions about COVID-19 treatment and impact as well as health insurance coverage. Lastly for this update, while not included in the total survey count for California (because they surveyed service providers rather than individuals), SHADAC’s team was made aware of two additional surveys assessing COVID-19 impact and have listed them among the surveys for this state.
Target population: Of the 88 total surveys identified across 35 states, most of these targeted specific populations such as working-age adults, parents of school-aged children, or students. Five surveys targeted larger localities (e.g., Los Angeles County), and three other surveys targeted residents of multiple states with results stratified by state residence. These multi-state surveys represented specified segments of the country; for instance, the Great Lakes Poll from Baldwin Wallace University represented opinions primarily in the Midwest. The majority of surveys focused on adults (age 18-65), and seven surveys focused specifically on parents and caregivers or families; for example, one survey conducted by the New York Department of Education collected responses from both parents and children regarding comfort level in returning to school. All surveys included sections to collect demographic information on survey respondents (e.g., age, sex, and race/ethnicity), and most results were stratified by some of these characteristics.
Topics: Surveys included questions on the following subjects (among others): lifestyle changes resulting from the pandemic; contact with or knowledge of persons with confirmed cases; safety measures taken such as wearing a mask, physically distancing, and avoiding public places; perception of threat posed by the virus; ability to obtain medications, mental health care, and physical health care; ability to pay bills; mental health challenges such as increased stress and increased worry resulting from the pandemic; resources needed; returning to school; and opinion on an administration’s or entity’s handling of the crisis.
Timeframe: Some surveys or polls captured point-in-time information on public attitudes toward COVID-19. Other surveys are being conducted periodically, using multiple waves to establish baseline attitudes and points of comparison. For example, the City University of New York School of Public Health has conducted weekly surveys over the past 16 weeks to closely capture respondents’ evolving opinions.
Initial survey results: While some surveys were still in the field at the time we collected this information, many have already produced results. Reported results usually included overarching takeaways from the data as well as topline information and crosstabs for survey questions. Many questions were broken down by demographic characteristics in order to take a closer look at nuance in public opinion.
States are continuing to gather interesting findings from their surveys. For instance, a survey sponsored by the Colorado Health Foundation and Healthier Colorado oversampled African Americans to compare the general population results to responses in the African American community side by side. They found that African American respondents were more likely to express significant concern over the availability of equipment needed to promote safe working conditions for frontline workers. Findings of healthcare affordability and health insurance worries were also posted from the Altarum Healthcare Value Hub Consumer Healthcare Experience Survey administered in Connecticut, Kentucky, and New Jersey.
If you are aware of a survey that is missing from this resource, please refer them to our email at firstname.lastname@example.org.