Anxiety and loneliness decline since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but more than one-third of Americans report increased depression, Center study finds

September 2, 2020 — Increased levels of loneliness and anxiety reported early in the COVID-19 pandemic have declined in recent months, but about one-third of Americans say they are more depressed since the pandemic began, according to a study by the USC Center for the Digital Future.

The second study of the social and cultural impact of the coronavirus conducted by the Center also found two-thirds of Americans who reported increased anxiety are concerned about the future of the world – higher percentages than those who reported being anxious about their own health, politics, their jobs, or safety.

Anxiety and loneliness drop

The study reported 32% of Americans say they are feeling more lonely since the beginning of the pandemic, down from 37% reported in April. Forty-nine percent say they are feeling more anxious, down from 62% reported in April.

However, more than one-third say they are more depressed: 35% of Americans say they are somewhat or much more depressed since the beginning of the pandemic.

Nearly twice as many women (11%) compared to men (6%) say they are much more depressed since the pandemic began.

Sources of anxiety

When asked about sources of their anxiety, 66% of Americans say they are anxious about the general future of the world – this compared to those who reported their anxiety source as being their own heath and the health of their loved ones (60%), the current political situation (53%), their job and financial security (36%), or their safety at home and community (34%).

The Coronavirus Disruption Project

The first round of the Center’s Coronavirus Disruption Study, released April 29, revealed many changes – both positive and negative – in relationships, emotional stability, and behavior since the COVID-19 pandemic and safer-at-home restrictions began. The second round of the study, conducted June 19-26, added new questions about political behavior and compared views about working from home, education, media, entertainment, shopping, and political outlooks.

The findings are based on the results of surveys of 1,000 respondents conducted in English from an online panel, with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

The Center for the Digital Future: revealing disruption for two decades

For more than 20 years, the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg ( has explored the impact of digital technologies on the behavior and views of users and non-users. The center also studies disruption in the lives of Americans and the corporate world.