Two months after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency, purchasing goods and services from local businesses is the most common action young Americans are taking to help others during the public health crisis, a survey by Cause & Social Influence finds.
Based on an online survey of Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 conducted on May 15, the report, Influencing Young Americans to Act: Special COVID-19 Research Report - May 2020, found that 25 percent of respondents reported buying more local products and services, followed by posting or sharing content on social media about coronavirus prevention (21 percent), donating goods (16 percent), signing a petition on an organization's website (16 percent), and donating professional services (15 percent). Three in ten respondents (31 percent) said they had taken no action that might help others in the preceding three weeks.
The third in a series of monthly surveys conducted since mid-March, the May analysis found that food banks (32 percent) topped the list of issues/organizations that young Americans chose to support with a cash donation, followed by animal welfare (31 percent) organizations; healthcare reform (30 percent), which topped the list in the April 17 survey; poverty and homelessness (25 percent); and mental health and social services (20 percent). The causes respondents were most likely to volunteer for were animal welfare (43 percent, up from 31 percent), civil rights/racial discrimination issues (38 percent), climate change (36 percent), healthcare reform (34 percent), and immigration (31 percent).
According to the report, young Americans are again turning to online influencers/content creators and celebrities for pandemic-related information, with 37 percent and 25 percent of respondents, up from 30 percent and 19 percent in April, citing them as their primary source of COVID-related news. The survey also found that a majority of young Americans would be "somewhat uncomfortable" or "not at all comfortable" with taking public transit (66 percent) or seeing a movie in a theater (60 percent) at the time of the survey. Nearly half (49 percent) would be uncomfortable attending a special event for a cause in person, while 27 said they would be somewhat comfortable, and 48 percent said they would be uncomfortable volunteering in person, while 27 percent said they would be somewhat comfortable. The share of respondents who said they might be comfortable participating in in-person activities by June 15 was slightly higher.