Most Americans think it's inappropriate to host celebratory events virtually rather than in-person

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
December 04, 2023, 4:04 PM GMT+0

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people used video streaming to virtually attend events that in the past would have only taken place in-person. Yet new YouGov polling finds that most Americans believe it is inappropriate to host many types of events in a virtual setting.

Of 15 types of events asked about — most of which are celebratory or ceremonial — religious services are the only form that more Americans say is always or usually appropriate (49%) rather than inappropriate (38%) to host virtually, rather than in-person.

Large majorities say it is inappropriate to host many milestone events online-only, including weddings (69%), funerals (64%), baby showers (62%), anniversary parties (61%), and birthday parties (61%). Most also consider it unacceptable for some types of work or education-related occasions — such as retirement parties (59%), reunions (58%), graduations (57%), and work parties (54%) — to take place virtually rather than in-person. However, there are at least some circumstances where Americans think virtual events are OK: Fewer than half of people say it is always inappropriate to host each event online.

The survey also asked Americans which of the 15 types of events they've attended — virtually, in-person, or both. One in three (32%) have attended a religious service virtually, and roughly one in five have been to each of a virtual graduation (20%), work party (18%), and birthday party (18%).

— Carl Bialik contributed to this article

See the results for this YouGov poll

Methodology: This poll was conducted online on October 17 - 19, 2023 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 4%.

Image: Getty (Orbon Alija)

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