UVM researchers study Vermonters’ response to COVID-19 pandemic

Local News

New research from the University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies finds that three months into Gov. Phil Scott’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, Vermonters experienced increased loneliness, but less stress and anxiety when it came to personal finances and greater confidence in local government.   

The study conducted in June was based on responses from over 1,500 Vermonters’ on topics related to their well being.  

Wellbeing categories include psychology, physical health, time balance, community vitality, social connectedness, education, and cultural access, physical environment, trust in governance, financial, and work-life.   

“People’s wellbeing is more than a measure of our gross national product or your individual income especially in Vermont where we often hear that Vermonters income levels are lower than the rest of the country and in Vermont, we tend to be this little engine that can. We don’t boom, we don’t bust, but we just keep chugging along,” said Jane Kolodinsky, CRS Director.

CRS first conducted the study in 2013 and again in 2017, but this time they did it during a pandemic.  

“We asked Vermonters how much stress if any have you felt about your personal finances over the past three months and in 2013 and 2017 13.8% of Vermonters and 12.3% said they felt no stress at all. In 2020, three months into the COVID pandemic 22.5% of Vermonters said they felt no stress at all,” said Michael Moser, CRS Research Specialist.

The study was conducted when the first federal CARES Act funding was distributing which included emergency cash payments.   

Vermonters also expressed greater confidence in local government than before the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2013 and 2017 only 18% and 20% of Vermonters had a lot of confidence in local government. In June, over 34% of Vermonters had “quite a lot of confidence” in local government.   

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