COVID-19 and American Life

How the pandemic impacted critical elements of American life

By: Trends Staff

USAFacts, a data initiative that provides data on the American population and government, recently published an article entitled “Eight Ways the Pandemic Affected American Life in Data”. This article compiles several data points demonstrating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on important aspects of American life, including the job market, the education system, and entertainment.

The article shows that employment has drastically changed. Both job openings and resignations have increased due to the economic impacts of the pandemic. As of February 2022, there were nearly 12 million job openings, and as of April 2022, 4.4 million people have quit their jobs. The labor force participation rate fell to its lowest rate since 1971, at  60.2 percent in mid-2020.

In both higher education and primary education, enrollment has dropped. Undergraduate enrollment in higher education decreased 4% between the fall of 2019 and the fall of 2020. The number of public-school students dropped 3% in the same period. This decrease in public school student enrollment was most notable for 3-to-5-year-olds, who  experienced a 11% drop in enrollment during 2020.  

Americans watched more streaming services during the pandemic. The percent of households who reported use of streaming increased from 29% in 2015 to 56% in 2020. While it’s not clear how much the pandemic contributed to this increase, this data does demonstrate a notable increase in the use of these entertainment services.

Unsurprisingly, following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in most states, Americans spending on arts, entertainment, and recreation increased greatly relative to pre-pandemic numbers. Spending on accommodations has also greatly increased, most likely due to more Americans traveling following two years of heavy travel restrictions.