COVID-19 and Well-being

Life in the Pandemic

image of COVID-19 and Well-being

COVID-19 and Well-being: Life in the Pandemic explores the immediate implications of the pandemic for people’s lives and livelihoods in OECD countries. The report charts the course of well-being – from jobs and incomes through to social connections, health, work-life balance, safety and more – using data collected during the first 12-15 months of the pandemic. It also takes stock of what has happened to human, economic, social and natural capital that, beyond their effects on people’s lives today, shape living conditions for years to come. It shows how COVID-19 has had far-reaching consequences for how we live, work and connect with one another, and how experiences of the pandemic varied widely, depending on whether and where people work, their gender, age, race and ethnicity, education and income levels. The report also examines the role that well-being evidence can play in supporting governments’ pandemic recovery efforts. It argues that a well-being lens can prompt policy-makers to refocus on the outcomes that matter the most to people, to redesign policy content from a more multidimensional perspective, to realign policy practice across government silos, and to reconnect people with the public institutions that serve them.

English Also available in: French

Reader’s guide

As a starting point, this report draws on the same indicators and sources used in the How’s Life? 2020 report. This is feasible for some aspects of material well-being and economic capital in particular, as well as for data from the Gallup World Poll, used in the absence of harmonised official data sources for a limited number of indicators. However, for other outcomes, the report relies on a number of ad-hoc studies and new data collections that have emerged during the crisis. At the national level, these sources range from experimental time use studies (UK Office of National Statistics) to ‘crowdsourced’ mental health data (Statistics Canada), a Household Pulse Survey (United States Census Bureau), and the SOEP-Cov study in Germany. In other cases, existing data collections have been adapted – for example, Stats NZ introduced supplemental well-being questions in the Household Labour Force Survey in 2020, providing quarterly estimates of outcomes such as life satisfaction. At the international level, novel data collections include the Eurofound Living, Working and COVID-19 Study; the Imperial College London/YouGov COVID-19 Public Monitor; and the REpresentations, PErceptions and ATtitudes on COVID-19 (REPEAT) survey from Sciences Po. Within the OECD, existing data collections such as the Risks That Matter survey have been adapted to address COVID-19 relevant concerns.


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