U.S. households are under increasing stress from the pandemic outbreak and related financial hardship

More than two in three Americans (71%) report experiencing stress from a pandemic of some kind. The most common type of stress is mental or emotional stress (53%), followed by financial stress (40%) and physical or medical stress (26%). These last two types of stress reached new highs since the start of the quarter.

The increase in financial stress since September has been particularly strong following the current resurgence of the coronavirus. Americans are more and more likely to take on debt to get by on a daily basis. About two in five (43%) now say they face financial pressures by taking on new or additional credit card debt, borrowing from friends or family, selling personal items they don’t. ‘would not have sold otherwise or engaging in other unwanted activities such as taking out payday loans in response to life events related to the pandemic. This percentage is up about 12% from about four months ago.

The only bright spot in the data is that the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine has improved the public’s outlook on how quickly life will return to “normal.” As recently as last month, nearly three in five Americans (56%) believed a full recovery would take more than a year, or, alternatively, never happen. That number has fallen to about two in five (41%) this week.

For the growing segment of the public more stressed and financially stretched out than ever before, a vaccine and the hoped-for economic rebound cannot come quickly enough.


This study of 1,228 U.S. residents aged 18 and over was conducted between November 24 and December 7, 2020. The results have an associated margin of error of +/- 2.8% at the 95% confidence level in the most conservative case. This means that the results are within plus or minus 2.8% of the results that would have been obtained taking into account a census of all qualified persons. Sample collection was balanced with US Census counts for gender, age, race / ethnicity, and household income.


Founded in 2007, ROI Rocket is a leading provider of full-service market research, marketing and sales automation, and digital agency support with offices in Denver, CO, Vancouver, WA, and Jacksonville, Florida.


For more information on this study, please contact David McGrath, CEO ([email protected]) Where Libby perkins, General Counsel ([email protected]).


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