Data released by the Office of National Statistics show that experiences of Covid-19 differ widely between different groups within the population.
Published on the 26th May, the dataset captures survey results taken between 3rd April and 3rd May 2020 where participants from across the UK were asked about their experiences with Covid-19.
Findings reveal sharp differences between women and men in Yorkshire and Humber in terms of coping strategies. Whilst 82.5% of women were likely to rely on friends and family for support, 75% of men were likely to do the same. More women turned to exercise as a coping strategy, with 66.8% of females exercising compared to 52.6% of males. This higher tendency for women to exercise more than men parallels findings in most other regions, with the exception of Wales where men were significantly more likely to use exercise as a coping strategy than women.
Men displayed a higher tendency to rely on work as a coping strategy when dealing with the effects of Coronavirus in Yorkshire and Humber, with 57.6% of men reporting doing so compared to 47.3% of women. This relationship wasn’t reflected in the national figures, however, with results taken from across the whole of the UK showing that the tendency of women or men to rely on work was relatively equal overall in the UK. This contrasts with the use of exercise or family and friends as a coping mechanism, where the general imbalance between men and women in Yorkshire and Humber was likewise reflected in national gender comparisons too.
Differing levels of anxiety were also evident. When asked how anxious the survey participants felt the day prior, 39.4% of women regarded their anxiety levels as high compared to 32.2% of men. In 2016, a Cambridge University study found that women are more likely to experience anxiety than men, potentially offering some explanation for this difference.
Age also proved a factor which saw differing degrees of anxiety. Those aged between 50 and 64 were the most worried about the effect of coronavirus on their life in Yorkshire and Humber. Perhaps surprisingly, people aged between 16 and 34 years old in Yorkshire and Humber exhibited some of the highest levels of concern and worry regarding the effect of coronavirus on their lives of those in that age category across the whole UK, with 83.6% of them saying they were either very or somewhat worried. This contrasted strongly with the areas of South East and East of England where both found 66.8% of those aged 16 to 34 years old in each area felt the same.
Finally, the data offered an insight into how different regions had been staying busy during lockdown. Yorkshire and Humber has clearly been developing its green fingers, with the region being one of the most likely across the UK to be gardening in lockdown. This is likely to reflect, in part, the fact that 93% of those surveyed in Yorkshire and Humber said that their house had access to a private garden. Although many regions reported similar figures, there were notable deviations, namely London, where just 77% of those surveyed said their house had access to a private garden.
The data shows, then, that divisions regarding people’s experiences with Covid-19 exist not just within regional areas but also across them. As lockdown continues and more data is compiled regarding people’s experiences, the reasons behind these differences may become more evident. Further research is necessary to determine whether the evident differences in experiences of Covid-19 between subsections of the population are caused by the differences in gender or age themselves, or whether other factors are at play.