What 'Staying At Home' Is Like Across The U.S.

In a new poll, nine in 10 Americans said they were making an effort to stay home this month.

Most people have been spending a lot of time at home lately. At the start of April, 90% of Americans said they were trying to stay home as much as possible due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a newly released HuffPost/YouGov survey

To get a better sense of what that experience has been like, we also asked people a few questions about their living situations, their stress levels, and what they’d change if they could. Here’s what we found out:

How stressful is staying at home?

Americans who are trying to stay home were split fairly evenly on whether or not they found it to be a stressful situation: Half said it was at least somewhat stressful, while a similar share expressed fewer concerns. Just 14% said they were finding it very stressful.

Self-professed introverts were about as likely to find staying home very stressful as self-professed extroverts; self-professed “outdoors” people were only a smidge more likely than “indoors” people to say they were stressed. Instead, perhaps unsurprisingly, people who generally find themselves stressed out were the most likely to be unsettled by their current situation: Two-thirds of people who considered themselves generally anxious found the situation at least somewhat stressful, compared to just 39% of those who said they’re generally calm.

There are also some demographic differences. A strong majority — 65% — of Americans under age 30 said they were at least somewhat stressed, compared to just 43% of those age 45 and older. There were also signs of a modest partisan gap, with 56% of Democrats and 43% of Republicans saying they found staying home stressful.

Who are people sharing their homes with?

A 54% majority of those people making an effort to stay at home said they were currently living with a spouse or significant other. Thirty percent are living with children or step-children, 19% with parents, 14% with other relatives and 2% with unrelated roommates. Most feel OK about the company they’re keeping: A nearly-universal 94% of those living with others said they were getting along at least somewhat well, with 65% saying they were getting along very well.

Another 17% of those staying home were living alone. Among this group, 53% said they were currently feeling at least a little lonely, but just 17% called themselves very lonely.

Most — 89%  said they had access to a private outdoor space like a yard, patio or balcony. A similar 86% said their home was large enough to be comfortable. About 62% had at least one pet with them.

What would they change if they could?

We also asked people to tell us what one thing they’d improve about their living situation during the coronavirus outbreak. Here were some of their responses:

  • “A bigger freezer and larger pantry.”
  • “A bigger house with a study room off limits to family members.”
  • “A bigger space for my son to play.”
  • “A larger outside space to do things like yard work to pass the time.”
  • “A second bathroom.”
  • “A view of the ocean.”
  • “Access to a gym.”
  • “Access to child care.”
  • “A balcony, so I could have a cigarette without leaving.”
  • “Better WiFi.”
  • “Better food. I am a lousy cook.”
  • “Better supply of hot water.”
  • “Everyone could be quieter.”
  • “Get rid of junky furniture and clutter.”
  • “Get rid of noisy neighbors.”
  • “Get rid of the animals and one house guest.”
  • “Have a car.”
  • “Have a friend to be with.”
  • “Have enough food, Pepsi, and coffee creamer to do me till it’s over!”
  • “Have my husband take the threat more seriously and wash his hands.”
  • “Have more good books.”
  • “Have significant other move out.”
  • “Having my belongings that are stuck at my apartment at school. We were told to stay home after spring break, so I brought very few things home with me.”
  • “Having my own room instead of living in the living room.” 
  • “Having my wife and my pups with me.”
  • “I can’t think of anything right now. Maybe liquor delivery.”
  • “I wish I had a car so I could go for a drive.”
  • “I wish I had my horses at home with me so that I could see them more regularly.”
  • “I wish I lived closer to a walking trail or green space so I didn’t have to drive there if I want exercise.”
  • “I wish I was completely alone.”
  • “I wish that I had a screen porch.”
  • “I would have us in a safe home that does not have a roof caving in.”
  • “I would like a garden.”
  • “More indoor space. I have LOTS of outdoor space.”
  • “More windows in my home.”
  • “More wine.”
  • “Move my grandchildren and friends out of my house.”
  • “My child’s attitude.”
  • “My father’s alcoholism.”
  • “My furniture.”
  • “Nothing, I’m blessed to have everything I need.”

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted April 1-3 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus