Blog & News
State-Specific Surveys Encompassing Residents’ COVID-19 ExperiencesOriginal blog posted on June 12, 2020:
Updated on February 26, 2021
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 January 2021. 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 October, we have identified 25 new surveys and 17 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.). As of January 2021, we found 41 states (an additional six states since our last update) with population-based surveys on health topics related to the coronavirus. Of those states, the number of surveys per state ranged from one to thirteen, though most states did not have more than four surveys. We identified four new surveys for a total of thirteen 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 (CHCF) that was primarily interested in health care access and affordability. This update includes another CHCF survey focused on the experiences of low-income adult residents since the beginning of the pandemic, and asks specifically about racial discrimination. 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.
Target population: Of the 113 total surveys identified across 41 states, most of these targeted specific populations such as working-age adults, parents of school-age children, or students. Nine surveys targeted larger localities (e.g., Los Angeles County, the Atlanta Metropolitan Area, the Detroit Metropolitan Area, etc.), 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 18-64 and 65+), and nine 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. Another common topic across the new surveys identified was public willingness to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Eighteen new surveys and 11 survey updates included questions and/or results about perspectives on COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy.
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, biweekly, and then monthly interval surveys since mid-March 2020 to closely capture respondents’ evolving opinions.
Survey results: While some surveys were still only in the field during our first iteration of survey information collection, many had already (and have since continued to) 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; newly identified surveys tended to include information on subpopulations of interest and explored COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. For example, a survey conducted by the Oregon Health Authority, in conjunction with Lara Media Services and DHM Research, oversampled people of color and employed innovative outreach methods to survey additional members of Oregon’s Latino community. Select survey results for Oregonians compared to those for Oregon’s Latino community included a higher likelihood among the Latino community to use and follow personal protective behaviors, but a lower likelihood to quarantine if they experience symptoms or have direct contact with someone with COVID-19. A top reason for lack of quarantine provided by the Latino community surveyed was the “need to work” since it’s their “only source of income.” In terms of the likelihood of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, state survey results revealed some similar insights. For instance, a statewide poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune found that 42% of respondents would get the vaccine; when data were disaggregated by race and ethnicity, survey results showed that 44% of White, 30% of Black, and 47% of Hispanic respondents reported that they would get the vaccine. Another poll from the Hartford Courant and Sacred Heart University found that 44% of respondents would get the vaccine. When stratified by race, 48% of White, 28% of Black, and 41% of Hispanic respondents reported that they would get the vaccine. The Louisiana Public Health Institute’s Statewide COVID-19 survey presented data by coverage type and found that 60% of those who had health insurance reported that they would definitely/probably get the vaccine while only 43% of those who were uninsured reported that they would definitely/probably get the vaccine.
If you are aware of a survey that is missing from this resource, please refer them to our email at firstname.lastname@example.org.