Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: 3 July 2020

Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 25 June to 28 June 2020 to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain.

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Contact:
Email Ruth Davies

Release date:
3 July 2020

Next release:
10 July 2020

1. Main points

  • Almost 8 in 10 working adults (78%) said they had either worked at home or travelled to work this week, a similar level to last week (77%).

  • Nearly half of working adults (49%) said they had travelled to work at some point in the past seven days, up from 44% last week and 41% the previous week.

  • Working adults continue to move away from exclusively working at home, which has dropped to 29%, from 33% last week.

  • Over 4 in 10 adults (43%) who have left their homes this week have worn a face covering to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), a similar level to the past two weeks.

  • Of those adults who had used public transport in the past seven days, 86% had worn a face covering while doing so across all of Great Britain, while 91% had in England.

  • The proportion of adults saying their well-being has been affected (45%) was broadly the same as last week, although fewer are reporting issues that may be associated with lockdown restrictions, such as feeling bored, spending time alone or finding working from home difficult.

  • 1 in 20 adults (5%) reported that they found it difficult or very difficult to pay usual household bills prior to the coronavirus pandemic; since the pandemic, this has risen to over 1 in 10 (11%) adults.

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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's) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on British society.

The statistics in this publication are based on a survey of 2,500 adults aged 16 years and over in Great Britain conducted between 25 and 28 June 2020 (inclusive). Results this week are based on 1,994 responding adults (80% response rate).

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, or differences between groups are presented in this bulletin, associated confidence intervals should be used to assess the statistical significance of the change. Not all differences commented on in this bulletin are statistically significant.

Throughout this bulletin, "this week" refers to responses collected during the period 25 to 28 June 2020 and "last week" refers to those collected during the period 18 to 21 June 2020.

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3. Leaving home

Of adults in Great Britain, over 9 in 10 (91%) said they had left their home for any reason in the past seven days, a decrease when compared with last week (94%). Lower proportions of those aged 70 years and over reported that they had left their home this week (83%).

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Official guidance on staying at home varies across England, Wales and Scotland. This section gives the reasons people are leaving their home, but an estimate of compliance is not provided.

The most popular reason to leave home this week continues to be shopping for basic necessities, with 79% of those who have left their home reporting doing so. Over 1 in 10 (12%) adults also said they had shopped for non-essential items such as clothes, furniture, and so on - the same level as last week.

It should be noted responses to the survey were collected after non-essential shops could re-open in England on 15 June and Wales on 22 June, but before shops in Scotland were permitted to re-open on 29 June.

Almost 1 in 10 (8%) adults that had left their home this week did so to visit an outdoor beauty spot or beach, an increase from 5% last week.

Face coverings

In the past seven days, over 4 in 10 adults (43%) who have left their homes have worn a face covering to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) - a similar level to last week (44%).

Women and those aged over 70 years were most likely to report wearing a face covering when outside of their home this week (49%), followed by adults with an underlying health condition (46%).

For those that had worn a face covering, the most common situation was while shopping (61%), followed by visiting a health or medical centre (23%).

Regardless of whether they had worn a face covering in the past, half of adults (50%) said they were either very or fairly likely to wear one in the next seven days.

It became mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport in England on 15 June. Of those adults who had used public transport in the past seven days, 86% had worn a face covering while doing so across all of Great Britain, while 91% had in England.

Repairs and work in the home

This week we asked people how comfortable they felt having someone in their home to carry out emergency repairs, or non-emergency work.

Over half of adults (51%) said they felt either very comfortable or comfortable having someone come into their home to carry out an emergency repair such as fixing a boiler, or electrics.

However, less than 4 in 10 (37%) adults felt comfortable or very comfortable to have someone in their home to carry out non-emergency work - and 42% reported feeling either uncomfortable or very uncomfortable in this scenario.

More about coronavirus

  • Find the latest on coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK.
  • All ONS analysis, summarised in our coronavirus roundup.
  • View all coronavirus data.
  • Find out how we are working safely in our studies and surveys.

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    4. Work

    Over half of working adults (52%) said the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was having an impact on their work. This has fallen from 61% last week. The most common impacts reported were:

    • being furloughed
    • a decrease in hours worked
    • being worried about health and safety at work

    Almost 8 in 10 (78%) working adults said they had either worked at home or travelled to work this week, a similar level to last week (77%). The proportion of working adults who reported they had travelled to work in the past seven days increased to 49% this week from 44% last week and 41% the week before.

    Almost 3 in 10 of adults (29%) who had worked in the last seven days said they had done so exclusively at home - a decrease from 33% last week. This supplements findings from the latest Business Impacts of Coronavirus Survey (BICS) collected between 15 and 28 June, where businesses continuing to trade reported 2% of the total workforce had returned from remote working in the two weeks prior to completing their questionnaire.

    Official estimates of labour market participation can be found in the Labour market overview.

    We asked people who had worked from home this week why they had done so, and respondents could give more than one reason. 63% reported they had worked from home because their employer had asked them to, 42% said that they were following government advice to work from home, and 42% reported that they were working from home because their workplace was closed.

    This week, of the adults who had reported the coronavirus pandemic was having an impact on their work, 16% said they were concerned about their health and safety at work, which has increased from 8% last week, but is at a similar level to two weeks ago (15%).

    Of those people who travelled to work in the past seven days, over 4 in 10 (43%) did work that required direct physical contact with other people. Almost two-thirds (63%) of workers in this group reported either often or always wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) while at work, which has increased from 52% last week.

    Of those whose work did not require having direct physical contact with other people, 42% reported they had always stayed at least two metres away from others in the workplace, and an additional 39% said they had managed to do this "often" - an overall increase when compared with last week (30% and 48% respectively). Of those whose work did not require direct physical contact with others, over 3 in 10 (31%) had, however, reported they had either often or always worn PPE at work in the past seven days.

    More detailed information on changes to labour market participation can be found in Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society: 25 June 2020.

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    5. Homeschooling and back to school

    At the time of the survey, some children in England were able to return to school.

    Of adults with children of school age, 4 in 10 (40%) reported that they had been asked to send their children back to school, with almost 7 in 10 (68%) of these saying that their children were now attending school some or all of the time. Although this week there has been an increase in the proportion of adults with children who can now attend school (32% last week), the proportion whose children are attending some or all of the time has decreased from 78% last week.

    For children still being homeschooled, this week they spent on average 11 hours learning - a similar amount to last week (12 hours).

    Of those who have homeschooled their children this week, over 6 in 10 adults (62%) said their children were struggling to continue their education at home - a similar level to last week (60%). Lack of motivation, lack of guidance and support, and limited parent or carer time to support were the most common reasons for children to be struggling. A detailed analysis of the social impacts the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on younger people, was published on Monday 22 June.

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    6. Indicators of well-being and finances

    Almost 7 in 10 adults (69%) said they were very or somewhat worried about the effect that the coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on their life now, which has increased when compared with last week (64%).

    Although a similar proportion of adults said their well-being had been affected by the coronavirus pandemic this week when compared with last week (45% compared with 47%), there has been a decrease in the proportions of people reporting issues that may be associated with lockdown restrictions.

    These include:

    • 45% reporting they felt bored, compared with 60% last week
    • 34% saying they were spending too much time alone, which has decreased from 40% last week
    • 21% reporting there was a strain on personal relationships compared with 27% last week
    • 13% finding working from home difficult, which has decreased from 22% last week

    This week we asked people how easy or difficult it has been to pay household bills both before and since the coronavirus pandemic.

    Among adults, 1 in 20 (5%) reported that they found it difficult or very difficult to pay usual household bills prior to the coronavirus pandemic . Since the pandemic, this has risen to over 1 in 10 (11%) adults.

    More than 1 in 10 adults (11%) reported that they have had to borrow more money or use more credit than usual since the coronavirus pandemic, and just under 3 in 10 adults (28%) said that their household would not be able to afford to pay an unexpected but necessary bill of £850.

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    7. Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain data

    Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain
    Dataset | Released on 3 July 2020
    New indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain. Includes breakdowns by at-risk age, sex and underlying health condition.

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    8. Glossary

    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
    • asthma
    • 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
    • diabetes
    • 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
    • rheumatoid arthritis

    In employment

    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
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    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, 2,500 individuals were sampled, with a response rate of 80% (or 1,994 individuals) for the survey conducted from 25 June to 28 June 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 want to or were unable to complete the survey online had the opportunity to take part over the phone.

    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.

    More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) QMI.

    Sampling

    A sample of 2,500 households were randomly selected from the European Health Interview Survey. 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.

    Weighting

    The responding sample contained 1,994 individuals (80% 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, and 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 June 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.

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    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: 2,500 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

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    Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

    Ruth Davies
    policy.evidence.analysis@ons.gov.uk
    Telephone: +44 (0)1633 651827