This week, over the period 24 to 28 March 2021, based on adults in Great Britain:
- Compliance with most measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) remained high, with 89% of adults reporting handwashing when returning home and 97% using a face covering; both proportions unchanged from last week.
- More people are leaving home in the last seven days than did in mid-January, for reasons such as: to visit a park or local green space (23%, compared with 14%); to meet up with people in a public place (14%, compared with 5%) and to shop for things other than basic necessities (13%, compared with 5%).
- New questions this week showed us that 36% of adults met up with someone outside their household, childcare or support bubble in the last seven days, of which 4% met indoors, 26% met outdoors and 5% met both indoors and outdoors.
- Over half (53%) of working adults reported leaving home for work in the past seven days; an increase from the 51% reported last week and a notable increase since mid-February (44% in the period 10 to 14 February 2021).
- Personal well-being levels appeared to worsen for most measures including happiness (6.7 this week, 6.9 last week), life satisfaction (6.6 this week, 6.7 last week) and anxiety (4.0 this week, 3.9 last week); levels of feeling worthwhile remained unchanged (7.2).
- Positive sentiment towards the COVID-19 vaccine remained high; 95% of adults reported they had now either received a vaccine or would be likely to have a vaccine if offered; 94% last week.
- Nearly 7 in 10 (68%) parents in England reported that their secondary school or college-aged child took part in rapid testing; the majority (85%) of which felt very comfortable or comfortable with their child taking part.
This bulletin contains data and indicators from a 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 bulletin presents a summary of the results. Breakdowns by age, sex, region and country, including confidence intervals for the estimates, are contained in the Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain dataset.
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 differences.
The latest statistics in this release are based on a survey of 6,025 adults aged 16 years and over in Great Britain conducted between 24 and 28 March 2021 (inclusive). Results from this period are based on 4,513 responding adults (75% response rate). Throughout the bulletin:
- “this week” refers to responses collected during the period 24 to 28 March 2021
- “last week” refers to responses collected during the period 17 to 21 March 2021
Compliance with most measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) remained high this week (Table 1), with 89% of adults reporting always or often handwashing after returning home and 97% using a face covering; the same as last week.
Table 1: Main indicators
Great Britain, 17 to 28 March 2021
- "This week" refers to responses collected during the period 24 to 28 March 2021.
- "Last week" refers to responses collected during the period 17 to 21 March 2021.
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Further statistics on compliance with measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, including trends over time, can be found in Tables 1a to 6 of the Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain dataset.
More about coronavirus
Reasons for leaving home
Over 9 in 10 (93%) adults in Great Britain reported leaving home this week, the same as last week.
Figure 1 shows some of the reasons adults have reported for leaving home that have shown the largest increases since mid-January.
This week, of adults who reported leaving home:
- 16% did so to take children or young people to or from school, college or nursery, reaching similar proportions as before Christmas (17% between 16 to 20 December, and 5% in mid-January)
- 23% did so to visit a park or local green space (14% in mid-January)
- 14% did so to meet up with people in a public place (5% in mid-January)
- 13% did so to shop for things other than basic necessities such as food and medicine (5% in mid-January)
- 17% did so for any medical need, including to get a COVID-19 vaccine (11% in mid-January)
- 15% did so to collect takeaway food or drinks from a restaurant, bar or pub (9% in mid-January)
Figure 1: Leaving home to meet up with people in a public place, shop for other things and meet people in a park or green space continues to increase
Of adults who reported they had left home in the past seven days for any reason, Great Britain, December 2020 to March 2021
- Question: "In the past seven days, for what reasons have you left your home?".
- Base: all adults who reported having in the past seven days left their home for any reason.
- Not all possible response categories are shown on this chart. For information on response options to these questions, please see Table 6 of the dataset associated with this bulletin.
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Leaving home to meet others
This week, we have changed the way we asked adults to report any meetings they had with people outside of their household, childcare or support bubble (excluding work or education) in the last seven days. Instead of just thinking about their largest gathering, we asked respondents to tell us whether they met anyone outside of their household, childcare or support bubble (excluding work or education), regardless of their group size.
This week, we found that 36% of adults reported meeting up with someone outside their household, childcare or support bubble in the last seven days. Of which:
- 4% met indoors only
- 5% met both indoors and outdoors
- 26% met outdoors only
Figure 2 shows the proportion of adults who:
- met up indoors (either exclusively or in combination to meeting up outdoors)
- met up outdoors (either exclusively or in combination with meeting up indoors)
It should be noted that changes to the questions in the latest period may have contributed to the proportion changes seen between 24 and 28 March 2021 and should be treated with caution.
When looking at those who had met up with others outside their household or support bubble (either indoors or outdoors), 86% of adults reported always or often maintaining social distance when meeting up with people outside their support bubble this week (87% last week).
It is worth noting that there may be valid essential reasons why people are unable to maintain social distancing and it does not necessarily mean that adults are breaking lockdown rules.
Leaving home for work
This week, just over half (53%) of working adults reported leaving home for work in the past seven days (51% last week). This proportion has been gradually increasing since mid-February (44% in the period 10 to 14 February 2021).
Looking at this week in more detail:
- the proportion of working adults travelling to work exclusively in the past seven days increased to 44% compared with 42% last week
- the proportion of working adults reporting working from home exclusively in the past seven days was 31% this week, similar to last week (32%)
- just under 1 in 10 (9%) working adults reported both working from home and travelling to work this week, the same as last week (Figure 3)
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This week, personal well-being levels appeared to worsen for most measures including happiness (6.7 this week, 6.9 last week), life satisfaction (6.6 this week, 6.7 last week) and anxiety (4.0 this week, 3.9 last week). Feelings of worthwhile remained unchanged (7.2).
Figure 4: Personal well-being measures appeared to worsen this week, following previous gradual improvement throughout 2021
Adults in Great Britain, March 2020 to March 2021
- Questions: “Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?”, “Overall, to what extent do you feel that the things you do in your life are worthwhile?”, “Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?” and “Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?”.
- These questions are answered on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is “not at all” and 10 is “completely”.
- Base: all adults.
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This week, people were less optimistic for the future, with fewer adults (23%) feeling that life will return to normal in six months or less (29% last week).
More adults (28%) reported feelings of a longer-term recovery and felt it will take more than a year for life to return to normal (from 23% last week).
Figure 5: This week, nearly 3 in 10 (28%) of adults reported they felt it will take more than a year for life to return to normal
Adults in Great Britain, March 2020 to March 2021
- Question: "How long do you think it will be before your life returns to normal?".
- Base: all adults.
- Response categories of “7 to 12 months”, “Never”, “Not sure” and "Prefer not to say" are not shown on this chart.
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Further statistics on how both people and businesses have adapted their behaviour through the COVID-19 pandemic is available in Comparing behaviours and economic activity during lockdown periods: March 2021.
Further statistics on well-being, loneliness, perceptions of the future and worries, including trends over time, can be found in Table 1b, Table 7 and Table 8 of the Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain dataset.Back to table of contents
This week, 95% of adults reported they had now either received at least one dose of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine or would be likely (very or fairly likely) to have a vaccine if offered; 94% last week, and includes adults who have accepted and are waiting to receive one.
In early December 2020, around 8 in 10 (78%) adults indicated they would be likely to accept a vaccine if offered it (Figure 6).
Figure 6: Over 9 in 10 (95%) adults have received or would be likely to accept a COVID-19 vaccine if offered
Adults in Great Britain, December 2020 to March 2021
- Questions: "Have you received a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?", "Have you been offered the vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?" and "If a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) was offered to you, how likely or unlikely would you be to have the vaccine?".
- Base: all adults.
- Questions asked about attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccination have changed over the survey periods shown so interpretation of this time series should be made with caution. For more information please see the datasets associated with this bulletin.
- Categories of "Adults who have been offered and declined the vaccine or would be very or fairly unlikely to have the vaccine if offered", "Neither", "Don’t know" and "Prefer not to say" are not shown on this chart.
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The 95% of adults in Great Britain this week who reported this “positive vaccine sentiment”¹ is made up of those who reported that they either:
- had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (58%); a similar proportion was reported in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey release
- had been offered a vaccine and were awaiting it (3%)
- had not yet been offered a vaccine but were likely (very or fairly likely) to have one when offered (33%) (Figure 7)
Figure 7: 99% of adults aged 50 to 69 years or 70 years and over said they had received at least one dose of a vaccine, were awaiting one or would be likely to accept one
Adults in Great Britain, 24 to 28 March 2021
- Questions: "Have you received a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?", "Have you been offered the vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?" and "If a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) was offered to you, how likely or unlikely would you be to have the vaccine?”.
- Base: all adults.
- Totals may not sum to 100% because of rounding and because proportions of less than 1% are not included in this chart.
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Of all adults who said they would be unlikely to have a COVID-19 vaccine if offered, or had decided not to have a vaccine when offered, people appeared to be more worried about the side effects than whether the vaccine was safe. The most commonly reported reasons were:
- feeling worried about the side effects (41% this week, 36% last week)
- feeling worried about the long-term effects on their health (40% this week, 41% last week)
- not thinking it will be safe (31% this week, 26% last week)
- wanting to wait to see how well the vaccine works (31% this week, 34% last week)
The proportions of all possible reasons why not, as well as further statistics on attitudes to vaccines this week can be found in Table 12 of the Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain dataset.
For more information on attitudes to COVID-19 vaccines among different sub-groups of the population, including breakdowns by age, sex, ethnic group and disability status, see:
- Coronavirus and vaccine hesitancy by sub-group, Great Britain: 17 February to 14 March 2021
- Coronavirus and vaccine attitudes and behaviours in England: over 80s population, 15 February to 20 February 2021
Notes for: Attitudes to COVID-19 vaccination
- Totals for the combined category of “positive vaccine sentiment” or “vaccine hesitancy” may appear to be different than if combining the individual category estimates shown in Figure 7 because of rounding.
Nearly 8 in 10 (78%) adults in Great Britain reported that they would be very or fairly likely to get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test if testing was available to them, even if they did not have any symptoms.
In England, twice-weekly rapid testing for secondary and college pupils has been introduced with the return to school on 8 March 2021. This is in addition to regular testing for all teachers to reduce the chance of the coronavirus spreading in schools.
In England this week, nearly 7 in 10 (68%) adults with a dependent child of secondary school or college age reported that their child had taken part in rapid testing in school or college. Just over 3 in 10 (32%) adults reported that their child of school age did not take part.
Of these adults:
- the majority (85%) whose child took part in testing felt very comfortable or comfortable with this, which was lower for adults whose child did not take part at 54%
- under 1 in 20 (4%) whose child took part in testing felt uncomfortable or very uncomfortable with this, which increased to just under a third (28%) for adults whose child did not take part
Of the adults that reported to have felt, or would feel, either uncomfortable, very uncomfortable, don’t know or preferred not to say, the most commonly reported worries (if any) were:
- worries about the test being uncomfortable for their child (62%), followed by
- worries that the whole household would have to isolate (32%)
- worries that the test might be inaccurate (26%) (Figure 8)
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On 5 January 2021, the UK government announced a further national lockdown for England. Similar rules applied for Scotland and Wales, particularly the message to “stay at home” meaning that adults in Great Britain were under a national lockdown at the start of the year in 2021.
On 22 February 2021, the UK government published a four-step roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions in England. On 23 February, the Scottish government published an update to the strategic framework for easing lockdown restrictions in Scotland.
In England, from 29 March people can meet outdoors in a group of 6, amongst other changes.
In Wales, from 13 March “stay at home” restrictions were replaced with stay local restrictions.
In Scotland, “stay local” will replace “stay at home” from 2 April.
Personal well-being measures ask people to evaluate, on a scale of 0 to 10, how satisfied they are with their life overall, whether they feel the things they do in life are worthwhile, and happiness and anxiety yesterday.
For the latest estimates of personal well-being available from the Annual Population Survey (APS) and more information on the comparability of estimates of personal well-being between the APS and the estimates provided in this bulletin from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN), see Personal well-being in the UK, quarterly: April 2011 to September 2020.
Vaccination for COVID-19
Following the first coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine being given in the UK on 8 December 2020, COVID-19 vaccination is now being provided in various locations across the country. The vaccines are currently being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local vaccination centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres.
More information on the number of people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine to date is available.
For this survey, a person is said to be a “working adult” if:
- they had a paid job, either as an employee or self-employed
- they did any casual work for payment
- they did any unpaid or voluntary work in the previous week
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 the latest wave, 6,025 individuals were sampled, with a response rate of 75% (or 4,513 individuals) for the survey conducted from 24 to 28 March 2021.
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 want to or were unable to complete the survey online had the opportunity to take part over the phone. Survey estimates may be subject to non-response bias, which could result in some groups of the population being less likely to take part. Steps have been taken to minimise the impact of non-response bias, which can be found in published information about the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey QMI.
Where changes in results from previous weeks or differences between groups are presented in this bulletin, associated confidence intervals, which are included in the associated datasets, indicate their significance.
Estimates in this bulletin are rounded to the nearest whole number. Where individual answer categories for a question have been combined to provide an estimate, this total may not appear to sum to the total of individual categories because of this rounding.
Estimates of attitudes towards vaccination provided since 13 to 17 January should be used with caution when compared with any weeks prior to this. In the weeks prior to this, adults were asked their likelihood of having a vaccine if offered, but were not specifically asked if they had already been offered or received a vaccine.
A sample of 6,025 households was randomly selected from those that had previously completed the Labour Market Survey (LMS). From each household, one adult was selected at random but with unequal probability. Younger people were given higher selection probability than other people because of under-representation in the sample available for the survey. The survey also includes a boosted sample for England, to allow more detailed analysis at a regional level, which are available in the datasets.
The responding sample in the week 24 to 28 March 2021 contained 4,513 individuals (75% 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 and employment status. For age, sex and region, population totals based on projections of mid-year population estimates for March 2021 were used. The resulting weighted sample is therefore representative of the Great Britain adult population by a number of socio-demographic factors and geography.
For more information, see the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey QMI.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:
- analysis of estimates in Wales and Scotland are based on low sample sizes, and therefore caution should be used with these estimates
- 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)300 067 1543