By the numbers
Our comparison of the average financial stress levels 12 months before and 12 months after the start of the coronavirus pandemic reveals that Republicans and Conservatives experienced the highest increases of 69% and 57%, respectively. The average increase was 26%. White men (43%), households with $75K+ incomes (36%), and men (34%) were the other segments among the top 5.
Under the hood
To begin with, before the pandemic, both Republicans and Conservatives had the lowest levels of stress, perhaps anchored by their confidence in Trump. Interestingly, the pandemic was an equal opportunity stressor across all ideologies and parties.
On the contrary, the data did not show such sharp changes for Democrats (pre=62.4 and post=65.8) and Liberals (pre=62.6 and post=66.8).
As the household income increase, the higher the increase in stress. Note the rise of 8% for households under $30K income, 14% for $30K-$50K, 24% for $50-$75K, and 36% for $75K+.
Job sensitivity is a crucial driver of financial stress. We define a household as job sensitive if at least one member of the family is looking for a full-time job or the family is concerned that a member may be laid off in the next 12 months.
The average job sensitivity for all households was 24% for the twelve months before the pandemic. Democratic respondents had the highest at 31%; Republicans had the lowest at 12%, with Independents at 26%. The unevenness in job sensitivity partly explains the vast differences in stress levels between Democrats and Republicans before the pandemic
Since March, the average job sensitivity for all households has climbed sharply to 57%. Democratic job sensitivity jumped to 62%, Republicans rose to 54%, and Independents climbed to 55%.