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Routine Doctor’s Appointments Missed and a Salary Decrease, Two Reported Trends Over the Past Year

Routine Doctor’s Appointments Missed and a Salary Decrease, Two Reported Trends Over the Past Year

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Today’s research, released by The Root Cause Coalition, marks a continued effort by the organization to identify and understand consumer attitudes, perceptions and behaviors related to Social Determinants of Health and health equity.

Comfort levels not entirely back

While the majority of individuals report that it feels at least somewhat safe to visit the doctor once vaccinated for COVID-19, only about 4 in 10 report feeling completely safe doing so.  Similarly, fewer than 1 in 3 individuals report feeling completely safe grocery shopping in person once vaccinated. 

Missed doctor’s appointments over the past year were also not uncommon, with one-third of Americans reporting not going to routine visits.  

A range of challenges and emotions

At the same time that American’s skipped going to the doctor, many even when they felt sick (19%), roughly one-quarter (26%) had a decrease in their income and nearly 1 in 5 (19%) had trouble paying household bills.  Hispanics represent the highest percentage of individuals where someone in their household lost a job (31%, compared to 13% nationally).  

A range of emotions accompanied events over the past year: nearly 9 in 10 felt concerned about the future at least some of the time (87%) while a similar percent felt optimistic about the future (82%); Americans also report feeling joyful some of time (86%), feeling isolated/lonely some of the time (61%) and feeling worried/scared some of time (71%).   Those driving the optimism are largely those under 45 years of age and those earning more than $80,000 a year, while those reporting higher levels of isolation/loneliness include individuals in the lowest income bracket (those earning less than $40,000/year).  Despite this multitude of emotions, the vast majority of Americans (89%) report feeling comforted by family/friends at least some of the time. 

An emphasis on vaccine equity, but a nuanced desire to get vaccinated

More than half (56%) of Americans believe communities with the highest number of cases should receive preference for the COVID-19 vaccine.  This number is highest among those under 45 (70%) and lowest among other age groups.  It is also somewhat higher among those who are college educated (59%) and have an income above $80,000/year (60%).  

While a slim majority believe vaccines should go first to neighborhoods with the highest COVID-19 case count, one-quarter of Americans (23%) report not wanting to be vaccinated right now.  At the time of the survey, 70% of Americans over 65 report already having the vaccine, while only 33% of those under 45.  Demographics that report the largest percentages of not yet being offered a vaccine and not wanting a vaccine right now include females (21%), those earning less than $40,000/year (23%) and those without a college education (23%).

Barb Petee, Executive Director of The Root Cause Coalition, noted that “We are heartened to see that a majority of older adults have already been vaccinated.  While we expect that number to increase over the coming weeks, we continue to support efforts to reach those who are most vulnerable.”

Volunteerism is high

More than half report having volunteered their time or donated their money to those in need over the past year.  And while a majority (58%) say that it’s something they did before COVID, nearly 4 in 10 (39%) report donating time or money as a result of COVID.  Those under 45, with higher incomes and a college education drove these numbers up significantly.


1000 interviews among adults age 18+ were conducted from April 9-14, 2020 using an online survey. The results were weighted to ensure proportional responses. The Bayesian confidence interval for 1,000 interviews is 3.5, which is roughly equivalent to a margin of error of ±3.1 at the 95% confidence level." 

The Root Cause Coalition

Co-founded by AARP Foundation and ProMedica in 2015, The Root Cause Coalition is a non-profit member-driven organization comprised of more than 70 leading health systems, hospital associations, foundations, businesses, national and community nonprofits, health insurers, academic institutions, local governments and policy centers. Our common goal is to achieve health equity for every American.

Click here to view the full report.

Contact: Alexandra Lewin-Zwerdling


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