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Greater Risk, but Greater Optimism: Essential Workers During COVID-19

In our study of 1,377 Americans this month, we took a closer look at 166 people who classified themselves as “essential workers.” Folks who are, generally speaking, more likely to be exposed to the coronavirus. The clerks, the staffs, the delivery guys. The people on the front lines.

Yet we found in many ways they’re doing better than the general population.

· While only 46% of the general population thinks something good might come of the pandemic, 59% of essential workers do.
· They’re also significantly more likely to report the pandemic has had a POSITIVE impact on their physical and mental health, income, job, living situation, daily life and community.

This is despite the fact that we found:

· 58% of essential workers think they’re likely to get the virus (vs. 38% of the general population).
· 40% of essential workers report that crime in their communities has increased because of the pandemic (vs. 22% of the GP).
· 23% of essential workers have had to make financial trade-offs, like choosing between paying for food or housing (vs. 11% of the GP).

What’s behind these findings? My best guess is a sense of purpose and being helpful.

Jessica