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Survey: Majority of New Yorkers worried about finances during pandemic

Some 95 percent of New Yorkers are either quarantining or practicing social distancing, a new poll from Siena College Research Institute shows.

The SCRI special Coronavirus Poll was conducted March 30 through April 2 by random phone calls to more than 400 New York adults and 400 responses drawn from a proprietary panel via Lucid.

The survey found that COVID-19 was having either a somewhat or very significant impact on New Yorkers’ daily life. Fourteen percent say they are under mandatory quarantine, while 42 percent are self-quarantining. Some 39 percent are practicing social distancing, while 4 percent are going about life as usual.

Seventy-seven percent of New Yorkers are either somewhat or very concerned that the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts will cause them serious financial problems. Roughly half of the survey respondents said they are concerned with being able to meet their monthly financial obligations and 37 percent are concerned about being laid off.

Nearly 60 percent of New Yorkers are concerned about their retirement savings or investments losing value; 49 percent are concerned about having to financially help other family members; and 41 percent are concerned with being able to afford food.

“The coronavirus crisis has turned life upside down for nearly all New Yorkers,” said SCRI Director Don Levy in a statement Monday. “And as the crisis continues, the emotional toll is starting to mount. Two-thirds of New Yorkers say that their anxiety level is up, 66 percent say they feel powerless and wish there was something more they could do and 62 percent say that ‘it’s starting to feel like this will never end.’”

Within the Upstate New York region, 80 percent of respondents said COVID-19 was having a somewhat significant or very significant impact on their lives, and 70 percent said they were somewhat concerned or very concerned the pandemic would cause serious financial hardship.

Some 29 percent of upstate respondents said they were concerned about being laid off, while 43 percent said they were worried about not being able to pay their monthly bills. Just over half of Upstaters said they were concerned about their retirement savings, while 43 percent said they were worried about having to help family members financially.

But there was a small silver lining in the report. Some 76 percent of all New Yorkers said they feel like they are enjoying the small things even more now and three-quarters said they were appreciating the extra time they have with those that are close to them.

“Despite being forced to change the way we live, being worried about our health and the health of everyone we care about, concerned about our financial well-being and having to live with the uncertainty as to when this will ever end, an overwhelming number of New Yorkers say that they are getting a chance to appreciate—whether by watching old movies, playing games or just being together—having extra time with those that they are close to,” Levy said. “And with all the things to worry about—health, money, food and bills—most of us say that we feel like we are enjoying the small things even more now than before.”

vspicer@bridgetowermedia.com / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

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