Thanksgiving 2022: How will Americans spend the day, and what are they thankful for?

Linley SandersData Journalist
November 23, 2022, 6:50 PM GMT+0

In the third Thanksgiving since the COVID-19 pandemic began and made indoor family gatherings more challenging, about half of Americans (48%) will now celebrate by gathering indoors with people from other households — up from 30% in 2020.

The latest Economist/YouGov poll finds that 9% of Americans will gather outdoors with other people, and 15% will not join with any other households; another 21% aren't celebrating Thanksgiving at all. In a similar question asked in 2021 of all Americans, 47% said they would gather indoors with people from other households. In 2020, during the first fall of COVID-19, less than one-third of American adults said they would gather together with family or friends indoors for the holiday.

But most people planning to celebrate Thanksgiving — including some who won’t be having an indoor dinner — will be eating traditional food: 62% of people celebrating expect to be eating turkey on Thursday. It’s an experience that will be shared by majorities of Democrats and Republicans.

And while national elections precede Thanksgiving celebrations every two years — leading to (generally debunked) speculation that Americans will argue with their family members about politics — just one in five Americans who usually celebrate Thanksgiving (19%) report ever having experienced political arguments at a Thanksgiving dinner. However, for 13% of Americans who usually celebrate, at least one Thanksgiving has been ruined by a political argument. Among Americans who usually celebrate Thanksgiving, Democrats are nearly twice as likely (19%) as Republicans (11%) to say politics has ruined a Thanksgiving for them.

Democrats and Republicans are together when it comes to being thankful: 90% of Democrats and the same share of Republicans say they are thankful this year. In response to a follow-up, open-ended question, Americans told YouGov in their own words what they are thankful for this year. Many people mention being thankful for family, good health, friends, and life.

– Taylor Orth and Carl Bialik contributed to this article

Polling by the Economist/YouGov was conducted on November 19 - 22, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll.

Related: What Americans think about Thanksgiving foods and traditions