Other commentary on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the UK economy and society is available on the following page:Back to table of contents
During the period 24 April to 3 May 2020, 8 in 10 adults (80%) in Great Britain continued to say they had either not left their home or only left for the permitted reasons (essential shopping, medical reasons, one form of daily exercise and key workers travelling to work) in the past seven days.
Most people think that we will be united and kind following our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic (57% and 67% respectively), but only 22% thought we would be an equal society.
Expectations for when life will return to normal are getting longer: 46% of adults now think it will be longer than six months compared with 33% after the first week of lockdown.
This weekly bulletin contains data and indicators from a new module being undertaken through the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on British society.
It contains breakdowns of results for identified "at-risk" groups that have been advised to take additional precautions. This includes those aged 70 years and over, those with certain underlying health conditions, and women who are pregnant. The full list of conditions are included in the Glossary. Further breakdowns by sex are included in the associated datasets.
This bulletin presents a summary of results, with further data including confidence intervals for the estimates contained in the associated datasets. Where changes in results from previous weeks are presented in this bulletin, associated confidence intervals should be used to assess the statistical significance of the change.
The statistics in this publication are based on a survey of 1,360 adults (68% response rate) sampled through the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN), which was conducted online between 24 April and 3 May 2020 (inclusive). Throughout this bulletin, "this week" refers to the period 24 April to 3 May 2020 and "last week" refers to the period 17 to 27 April 2020.Back to table of contents
A similar proportion of adults with dependent children said they had homeschooled their child or children in the past seven days this week (62% ) compared with 63% last week, indicating that coming out of the Easter holidays had little effect. This survey only asks for information from the respondent, so other people within the household may be providing the homeschooling or the dependent children in the household may be of pre-school age.
Of those homeschooling, 1 in 3 adults (33%) said it was putting a strain on their relationships in the household, an increase from 25% last week. More adults also thought the well-being of their child or children was being negatively affected, rising to 41% this week from 32% last week.
A larger proportion of adults who homeschooled their child said they were confident in their abilities compared with last week (57% compared with 45%). Nearly 3 in 4 adults (75%) said they had access to the resources they needed to homeschool their children well, with 75% saying their child or children were continuing to learn (Figure 4).
For those that did not agree they had the resources they needed, the most common aspects affecting their child's ability to continue learning were limited support from teachers (43%) or limited or no suitable space to work or study (also 43%).
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Through the different weeks of the survey, measures of community spirit have increased. This week we see attitudes and expectations towards societal unity, kindness, and equality in Great Britain have also been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The largest change is in people’s expectations for unity. Just over 2 in 10 (21%) believed that Britain was very or somewhat united before the coronavirus pandemic. However, nearly 6 in 10 (57%) said they thought that Britain would be united once we have recovered from the coronavirus pandemic (Figure 6).
Younger adults saw the largest change in their feelings of unity. For adults aged between 16 and 69 years, 19% believed Britain was united before the coronavirus, compared with 56% thinking this would be the case afterwards. For adults aged 70 years and over, the change was from 28% to 59%.
Similarly, nearly 4 in 10 (39%) adults believed that Britain was somewhat or very kind before the coronavirus pandemic, and a larger proportion of just under 7 in 10 (67%) said that Britain would be kind once we have recovered from the coronavirus pandemic.
Again, the change is larger for younger adults. For adults aged between 16 and 69 years, 37% believed Britain was kind before the coronavirus, compared with 66% believing people will be kind following the recovery. For those aged 70 years or over, the change was from 51% to 72%.
There was a smaller change in expectations for equality in Britain. Around 1 in 6 adults (16%) felt that Britain was somewhat or very equal before the pandemic, with the proportion feeling that Britain would be equal after the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic rising to 22%.
Younger people had lower expectations for a change in equality. For adults aged between 16 and 69 years, 16% believed Britain was equal before the pandemic, compared with 20% expecting it to be equal following the recovery. For those aged 70 years or over the change was from 16% to 29%.Back to table of contents
The proportion of adults who said their well-being was affected decreased this week (42%) compared with last week (48%). The proportion remained higher for those with an underlying health condition, at 45%, and lower for those aged 70 years and over, at 32%.
The most common issues affecting people’s well-being are comparable with previous weeks. About 3 in 4 (74%) of those who said their well-being was being affected said they were feeling worried about the future, with nearly 2 in 3 (65%) feeling stressed or anxious and a half (50%) feeling bored. Over 4 in 10 (42%) also said not being able to exercise as normal was impacting their well-being (Figure 7).
Although it is not known how many people who said their well-being was affected had mental health issues prior to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 3 in 10 (27%) of those whose well-being has been affected said it was making their mental health worse, a decrease from 31% last week.
|Indicator||Group||This week (%)||Last week (%)|
|Well-being is being affected||All adults||42||48|
|70 years and over||32||39|
|Mean anxiety score*||All adults||4.1||4.2|
|70 years and over||3.8||4|
|Percentage with high anxiety (score 6-10)*||All adults||33||37|
|70 years and over||29||33|
|Feeling lonely often/always||All adults||5||6|
|70 years and over||3||2|
|Feeling lonely some of the time||All adults||16||16|
|70 years and over||12||13|
Download this table.xlsx .csv
The full scores for the four measures of personal well-being are included in the associated datasets.Back to table of contents
Underlying health condition
In this bulletin, adults with an underlying health condition include those with:
Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
angina or long-term heart problem
a learning disability such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or Asperger’s (Asperger syndrome)
conditions affecting the brain and nerves, such as Parkinson's disease
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or long-term lung problem
kidney or liver disease
a weakened immune system such as the result of conditions as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or treatment for cancer
problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease, or if you have had your spleen removed
being overweight (having a BMI of 40 or above)
given an organ transplant
stroke or cerebral haemorrhage or cerebral thrombosis
This also includes pregnant women.
Questions about homeschooling are asked when the responding individual has a dependent child in their household. A dependent child is defined as someone who is under the age of 16 years or someone who is aged 16 to 18 years, has never been married and is in full-time education.
For this survey, a person is said to be “In employment” if they had a paid job, either as an employee or self-employed; they did any casual work for payment; or they did any unpaid or voluntary work in the previous week.
Key workers have been identified if a respondent has self-reported they have been given “key worker status” only. It has not been defined by an official list of occupations or industries in which people work.Back to table of contents
The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) is a monthly omnibus survey. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have adapted the OPN to become a weekly survey used to collect data on the impact of the coronavirus on day-to-day life in Great Britain. In this wave, 2,010 individuals were sampled, with a response rate of 68% (or 1,360 individuals) for the survey conducted from 24 April to 3 May 2020.
The survey results are weighted to be a nationally representative sample for Great Britain, and data are collected using an online self-completion questionnaire. Individuals who did not complete the survey online were given the opportunity to take part over the phone.
Where changes in results from previous weeks are presented in this bulletin, associated confidence intervals, which are included in the associated datasets, indicate their significance.
More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey QMI.
A sample of 2,010 households were randomly selected from the Annual Population Survey (APS), which consists collectively of those respondents who successfully completed the last wave of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) or the local LFS boost. From each household, one adult was selected at random but with unequal probability. Younger people were given higher selection probability than older people because of under-representation in the sample available for the survey. Further information on the sample design can be found in the OPN QMI.
The responding sample contained 1,360 individuals (68% response rate). Survey weights were applied to make estimates representative of the population.
Weights were first adjusted for non-response and attrition. Subsequently, the weights were calibrated to satisfy population distributions considering the following factors: sex by age, region, tenure, highest qualification, employment status, National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) group and smoking status. For age, sex and region, population totals based on projections of mid-year population estimates for April 2020 were used. The resulting weighted sample is therefore representative of the Great Britain adult population by a number of socio-demographic factors and geography.Back to table of contents
The main strengths of the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) include:
it allows for timely production of data and statistics that can respond quickly to changing needs
it meets data needs: the questionnaire is developed with customer consultation, and design expertise is applied in the development stages
robust methods are adopted for the survey's sampling and weighting strategies to limit the impact of bias
quality assurance procedures are undertaken throughout the analysis stages to minimise the risk of error
The main limitations of the OPN include:
the sample size is relatively small: 2,010 individuals per week with fewer completed interviews, meaning that detailed analyses for subnational geographies and other sub-groups are not possible
comparisons between periods and groups must be done with caution as estimates are provided from a sample survey; as such, confidence intervals are included in the datasets to present the sampling variability, which should be taken into account when assessing differences between periods, as true differences may not exist
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 65 1827