Table of contents
- Main points
- Understanding the impact on society
- Concerns about the coronavirus
- Actions undertaken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus
- Unity, kindness and equality
- Indicators of well-being and loneliness
- Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain data
- Measuring the data
- Strengths and limitations
- Related links
1. Main points
The most common impact of the coronavirus on people’s lives this week is a lack of freedom and independence, with nearly 2 in 3 adults (65%) saying this was impacting them.
Around 8 in 10 adults (80%) said they had enough information to protect themselves; a decrease on recent weeks and a similar level to the start of lockdown measures.
Around 1 in 7 (14%) adults had not left their home over the past seven days; for those with an underlying health condition, 1 in 3 (33%) had not left their home.
Over 4 in 10 adults (41%) felt unsafe when leaving their home because of the coronavirus; for those with an underlying health condition this rose to over half (54%).
Just under 4 in 10 adults (39%) said they had visited a park or public green space in the past seven days and of these, 17% said they had met up with friends or family from outside their household.
2. Understanding the impact on society
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.
The statistics in this bulletin are based on a survey of 995 adults (50% response rate) sampled through the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) conducted between 14 and 17 May 2020 (inclusive). This is a shortened collection period to previous waves of the survey to allow more timely analysis of how people’s lives are changing during the pandemic.
It contains breakdowns of results by sex and for identified “at-risk” groups that have been advised to take additional precautions. This includes those aged 70 years and over and those with certain underlying health conditions. The full list of conditions is included in the Glossary.
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.
Because of changes to some of the questions on the survey and the change to the collection period, direct comparison with previous weeks should be made with caution. Further details can be found in the Measuring the data section.Back to table of contents
5. Unity, kindness and equality
Expectations for unity, kindness and equality in Great Britain after recovery from the coronavirus (COVID -19) pandemic are similar to previous weeks.
The largest change is in people’s expectations for unity. Just over 2 in 10 (22%) believed that Britain was very or somewhat united before the coronavirus pandemic. However, just under 5 in 10 (49%) said they thought that Britain would be united once we have recovered from the coronavirus pandemic (Figure 3).
Women expected greater unity than men after the pandemic, with 57% believing Britain would be very or somewhat united compared with 41% of men.
Similarly, 4 in 10 adults (42%) believed that Britain was somewhat or very kind before the coronavirus pandemic, and a larger proportion of 6 in 10 (61%) said that Britain would be kinder once we have recovered from the coronavirus pandemic.
Again, more women than men expected people to be kind after the pandemic and saw a greater change in attitude.
There was a smaller change in expectations for equality in Britain. Just under 1 in 5 adults (15%) 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%.
Again, more women than men believed that Britain was very or somewhat equal both before and after the pandemic, and women saw a greater change in attitude, from 16% before the pandemic to 24% after we have recovered.
Figure 3: More people believe that Britain will be united and kinder following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, than it was before
Great Britain, 24 April to 3 May 2020
Source: Source: Office for National Statistics – Opinions and Lifestyle Survey
- Proportion of respondents that believed Britain was united, kind and equal before the coronavirus pandemic.
Download this chart Figure 3: More people believe that Britain will be united and kinder following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, than it was beforeImage .csv .xls
6. Indicators of well-being and loneliness
Over 4 in 10 adults (43%) said their well-being was affected. The proportion remained lower for those aged 70 years and over, at 34%, and higher for those with an underlying health condition, at 55%.
Among adults, 40% of men and 46% of women were concerned about well-being and the most common issues affecting this well-being are similar to previous weeks. For both men and women who reported that their well-being was being affected, the most common reason given was feeling worried about the future, with 6 in 10 (59%) men and 7 in 10 (71%) women citing this issue (Figure 4). Just over half of men (52%) felt stressed or anxious compared with nearly 7 in 10 (69%) women. Half (51%) felt bored, with no difference between men and women. Just under 4 in 10 (37%) said not being able to exercise as normal was impacting their well-being, with a greater proportion of men (43%) compared with women (31%) reporting this impact.
Figure 4: Women generally felt more worried about the future, stressed and anxious compared with men
Great Britain, 14 May to 17 May 2020
Source: Office for National Statistics – Opinions and Lifestyle Survey
Download this chart Figure 4: Women generally felt more worried about the future, stressed and anxious compared with menImage .csv .xls
Anxiety levels, although higher than before the pandemic, have shown a general downward trend through the weeks of lockdown. For adults overall, this trend has levelled this week and similar proportions report high levels of anxiety to recent weeks. However, for those with an underlying health condition, anxiety levels show an increase.
|Group||14 - 17 May (%)||24 April - 3 May (%)|
|Wellbeing is being affected||All adults||43||42|
|70 years and over||34||32|
|Mean anxiety score*||All adults||4||4.1|
|70 years and over||3.9||3.8|
|Percentage with high anxiety (score 6-10)*||All adults||32||33|
|70 years and over||32||29|
|Feeling lonely often or always||All adults||6||5|
|70 years and over||7||3|
|Feeling lonely some of the time||All adults||18||16|
|70 years and over||13||12|
Download this table Table 2: Indicators of well-being.xls .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:
- 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
- cancer -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
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.Back to table of contents
9. Measuring the data
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 50% (or 995 individuals) for the survey conducted from 14 to 17 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 995 individuals (50% 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 May 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.
Data collection period
The data collection period for this wave of the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey has been reduced to four days from 10 or 11 days on previous waves. The time between the survey closing and results being published has also been reduced to allow more timely analysis of how attitudes and experiences are changing through the pandemic as changes are made to government guidance.
Data were collected for Wave 7 and 8 of the survey from 1 May to 10 May and from 7 to 17 May respectively. Because of resource constraints it has not been possible to analyse these data separately in the weekly bulletin, but they will be included in the additional topic-based articles being published over the next few months. The data will also be available through the UK Data Service in the usual way.Back to table of contents
10. Strengths and limitations
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