Community COVID Survey

Survey Data Reveals Impact of COVID-19 on Worthington Community

survey graphicMental health and financial impacts are the top concerns of Worthington citizens based on the Worthington Community Coronavirus Survey conducted in August and September 2020. The City of Worthington is sharing key findings from the survey, developed with the assistance of several community partners. It targeted people who live in, work in, or have a significant connection to Worthington. 

The survey consisted of two series of questions. The first set of core questions asked respondents about their employment, personal finances, health and wellness, social and emotional wellbeing, technology access, family life and support network. The core questions included some branching logic for those who are currently employed and those who are self-employed, as well as for respondents who reported having children in their households.

The second set of questions asked respondents to share their habits and attitudes when it comes to the pandemic response, including safety precautions, risk assessment, news sources and trust. Because the survey is fairly lengthy, respondents were able to opt-out of the second set of questions if they no longer wished to continue. The survey was completed by 2,359 people with 858 agreeing to be contacted about follow-up surveys in the future. 

Areas of particular concern identified in the overall survey data include: 

Personal Finances

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, many people in our survey saw a change in employment, with 24% of Worthington respondents reporting a loss of income, 16% experiencing a reduction in hours, and 14% returning to work after not being employed for a period of time. 7% percent have been furloughed without pay, and 4% have been permanently let go or laid off. 

Although many individuals (56% in our survey compared to 22% nationally) were fortunate in being able to make the shift to working from home, nearly 25% of respondents and 67% of businesses have experienced some loss of income or revenue. 

While most of our respondents appear able to weather another mandatory shutdown or a total loss of income for a period of time, roughly 10% of respondents are in a financially precarious position when it comes to covering expenses. For these people, their ability to afford food and household goods, pay bills, including utilities, and make rent/mortgage payments, has gotten worse since the start of the pandemic. 

Small business impact

When asked how the coronavirus has impacted their business, 67% report a loss of revenue, 24% report they have seriously considered closing their business, and 11% have been forced to close a business. These statistics are significantly higher than those reported by Ipsos (2020), which found small business revenue loss of 6% and a small business closure of 3% (although it should be noted we are working with a smaller sample size of just 94 people). 

The community’s small businesses and organizations are being impacted by both the mandatory shutdowns in spring and now by a community that is largely unwilling to resume normal levels of activity even as businesses open with safety measures in place. 

More than 60% of respondents were unwilling to dine in at restaurants and bars, use fitness centers, attend indoor group programs, use a taxi or ridesharing service, or visit entertainment centers like bowling alleys and movie theaters. More than 50% of respondents are unwilling to go inside a coffee shop or visit a museum or art gallery. 

Mental health

When asked to rate how they, personally, felt in the last seven days, 39% of respondents reported feeling anxious at least a moderate amount (3-4 days) of time. Although the majority of respondents reported low (47%) or medium (27%) levels of distress, one-quarter (26%) report a high level of distress. When asked if they felt hopeful about the future in the last seven days, more than half (55%) said some or only a little of the time or rarely. 

Children are also being negatively impacted by the pandemic. Asked to reflect on how their children felt in the last day, parents noted high levels of boredom (76%), stress (57%), worry (53%), sadness (47%), loneliness (46%) and anger (46%). When compared to a Gallup (2020) poll conducted in March, Worthington respondents report significantly higher levels of worry, anger, stress, loneliness and sadness in their children. 

Our survey found that 39% of parents somewhat agree and 10% strongly agree with the statement: I’m unsure how to give my children the support they need right now. 10% of respondents also said they do not have someone to talk to or somewhere they can go for support when it comes to the mental health of others in the household or immediate family. 

Next Steps

The City of Worthington is using this data to inform outreach efforts and grant funding for small businesses and organizations in our community. The City is also working with our community partners to help families struggling with mental health concerns resulting from the pandemic to improve knowledge of and access to local resources. 

Resources