Sacramento, CA - May 10, 2021: Capital Public Radio (CapRadio) and Valley Vision today announced the release of the May 2021 COVID-19 Resilience Poll report. The May 2021 report is the culmination of a three-part series examining the experiences and attitudes of people in the Sacramento region during the pandemic over the past year.
The findings offer a glimpse into the unique hardships endured by Sacramento communities associated with late-pandemic conditions and all that has come as a result. CapRadio’s newsroom highlighted the main findings in a data visualization story, is featuring week-long segments on its Insight talkshow and will use the takeaways to inform reporting across all platforms.
“For over a year, people in the Sacramento region have responded and adapted to the pandemic in unprecedented ways, including navigating the vaccine rollout and the current reopening efforts,” said Joe Barr, chief content officer at CapRadio. “Our commitment to this long-term polling series helps us better understand the challenges and experiences of the people in our region, which is key to telling their stories and providing information to the community during this extraordinary time.”
The public opinion poll, administered by Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research, occurred from March 12-29, 2021, and is demographically representative of California’s Capital Region, encompassing Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.
“The latest report highlights key themes from polling through the year of the pandemic,” said Evan Schmidt, CEO at Valley Vision. “The findings give us a sense of the unique challenges our region now faces and where we most need to focus system change to build an equitable recovery.”
Main takeaways from the May 2021 report include:
The COVID-19 Economy
In the most recent poll, 41% of respondents overall reported a loss of income during the pandemic. For some communities that number is much higher, including Black, Hispanic and Asian respondents, ranging from 51-59%. Comparatively, the rate of income loss for white respondents was 29%. Addressing these disparate economic gaps is critical to the Sacramento region’s economic recovery.
The Workplace Transformation
There was an accelerated transformation of the workplace as a result of the pandemic due to remote work, automation and e-commerce:
- Prior to the pandemic, 62% of the region’s workforce had never worked remotely, yet the most recent poll shows that currently 70% of respondents now work at least partially from home.
- The pandemic has brought about loss of jobs and income and jobs are becoming more vulnerable to automation in the region, especially those jobs more frequently held by lower wage workers, people of color and women.
- Small businesses were severely impacted by the Shelter In Place shut downs and increasing e-commerce.
As part of an inclusive economic recovery, a regional strategy must proactively guard against widening equity gaps brought about by changes in the workforce and those posed by future workplace culture shifts that are anticipated post-pandemic.
The Mental and Emotional Toll of the Pandemic
The pandemic has created devastating increases in depression rates, anxiety and stress, concerns about substance use, and concerns about physical and emotional violence at home. These impacts have not been evenly shared, with people of color and younger people experiencing higher rates of mental and emotional health effects. As the pandemic begins to recede, it will be important to think about how to promote well-being, heal from the trauma inflicted over the past year and address the unique needs of different populations.
Educating Through a Pandemic
A year of educating from home has been difficult on parents, students and teachers, and has caused a setback for children and young adults. More than two-thirds of parents are concerned about their children falling behind academically. Additionally, parents have shouldered the toll of educating children remotely and have experienced a greater degree of income loss and more difficulty doing their job than non-parents. As schools begin to open and welcome students back, it will be important to think about how children, young adults and parents can get back on track academically, mentally and emotionally, and economically.
Moving Beyond COVID-19
People in the Sacramento region are eager to reopen and resume community life, but the most recent poll found that vaccination skepticism is likely impacting the region. Thirty-nine percent of respondents stated that they would probably or definitely not get the vaccination when it becomes available to them, with concerns about side effects and that the vaccines are too new being the most commonly cited reason that respondents will avoid them. Education and communication campaigns, as well as a concerted effort to engage vulnerable populations, like communities of color, people with lower incomes, English as a second language and others, will be needed.
The May 2021 report, a special data visualization project and additional CapRadio reporting on the findings are available at capradio.org/poll.
CapRadio serves California’s Capital Region, Central Valley and Sierra Nevada as the public-supported alternative to for-profit media. As the NPR-member station based in Sacramento, CapRadio connects with communities through seven broadcast stations, live streaming, podcasts, digital communities, live experiences and more. Known for its award-winning newsroom, CapRadio is recognized as a leader in community-engaged journalism and state government reporting, and CapRadio Music is the exclusive broadcast source of classical and jazz in the region. With more than 500,000 weekly listeners on-air and online, CapRadio provides a trusted and indispensable source of information, music and events.
About Valley Vision
For 25 years Valley Vision has helped governments, businesses, foundations and community groups better understand our region and its people through high quality research. By uncovering common ground facts using scientific opinion polls, focus groups, community needs assessments, best practice reports and other research tools, Valley Vision is a trusted interpreter, commentator, forecaster and work partner for community inspired solutions.
About Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research
ISR supports community partners in improving programs and policies in the region and throughout the state. Located at the university’s downtown location, the Institute offers a broad range of expertise conducting surveys and applied research. Since 1989, our collaborations with government agencies and nonprofit organizations have contributed to public accountability, program fidelity, and the strengthening of communities.