Young Americans Taking Action Against COVID-19, Survey Finds

Young Americans Taking Action Against COVID-19, Survey Finds

A majority of young Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 report taking precautions to slow the spread of coronavirus, a report from Cause & Social Influence finds. 

Based on just over eleven hundred responses to a twenty-four-hour online survey, the report, Influencing Young America to Act: Special COVID-19 Research Report, Spring 2020 (6 pages, PDF), found that a majority of young Americans said they were taking precautions such as "social distancing" (77 percent), frequently washing their hands and/or using sanitizer (67 percent), and self-quarantining or -isolating (53 percent). The most common action taken by respondents to help others was "chang[ing] the way I purchase products and/or services — e.g., started or stopped eating out, attending movies, buying certain products, or supporting a brand/company" (47 percent), while 28 percent of respondents reported doing nothing. 

According to the survey, traditional news sources such as television (58 percent) and online news sites (39 percent) were most frequently cited as driving awareness of the pandemic, followed by social media (39 percent), online "influencers" (15 percent), and celebrities (10 percent). Similarly, family members (26 percent) and peers and friends (22 percent) played a bigger role in influencing respondents' actions with respect to prevention than "influencers" (19 percent) or celebrities (4 percent). While eight in ten respondents believed companies or brands had "a great deal of" (40 percent) or "some" (40 percent) influence on attitudes toward COVID-19 prevention measures, fewer said they trusted corporations "a lot" (11 percent) or "some" (26 percent) "to do what's right" during the crisis.

The survey also found that 87 percent of young Americans thought social media promoted fake news about COVID-19 "very often" (20 percent), "often" (30 percent), or "somewhat often" (37 percent). Respondents also said they trusted information put out by nonprofit organizations "a lot" (24 percent) or "some" (36 percent) — which compared favorably with local government (20 percent and 37 percent), the federal government (16 percent and 33 percent), and social movements (16 percent and 33 percent).

(Photo credit: Jasmin Sessler via Pixabay)