61% see a depression coming

Andrew GreinerHead of Content for US
April 22, 2020, 2:47 PM UTC
Since February, the coronavirus has hammered the US economy. Unemployment has surged, volatility has taken over the equity markets, and entire business categories have shuttered. 

Those indicators seem to have most Americans (61%) thinking we’re headed for an economic depression in the next year. In fact, a plurality of Americans (34%) think we’re already in the midst of one, according to a YouGov poll of 1287 US Adults conducted April 16 to 17, 2020.

The depression anticipation appears to be most acutely felt in urban areas -- 38 percent of urbanintes say the United States is already in a depression -- and among Black Americans, 43 percent of whom think we’re already in the grips of a depression. 

Is the United States prepared?

People seem to have little faith in the country’s level of preparedness for a crash. Nearly two thirds (62%) of Americans think the country is not prepared for a depression and just 28 percent think the country is.

The strong feelings of unpreparedness cut across geographic lines and political ones: more than 40 percent of Republicans and more than 60 percent of both Democrats and Independents think the country is unprepared. That 60 percent threshold remains across urbanites, suburbanites and rural dwellers, too. 

President Donald Trump’s policies earn typically partisan marks in YouGov's ongoing recession survey. Feelings about whether Trump's policies are more or less likely to cause a depression mirror the trendlines: more than a third (39%) think his policies make it more likely that the country will go into depression, and 27 percent think his policies make it less likely. 

Are people personally prepared?

The story gets a little brighter when it comes to personal preparedness for a depression. The country is evenly split about whether they’re personally ready (45%) or not (45%). Republicans feel particularly strong, and a majority (54%) says they are personally prepared, compared with 46 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of Independents. On this question of personal preparedness, we again see pain in the cities and among Blacks.

Urban dwellers feel 38 percent prepared against 51 percent unprepared for a depression. Compare that to suburbanites, who feel 48 percent prepared against 44 percent unprepared, and rural dwellers, who feel 47 percent prepared against 38 percent unprepared. 

Read the full survey here.

Methodology: Total sample size was 1287 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th - 17th April 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+). YouGov plc make every effort to provide representative information. All results are based on a sample and are therefore subject to statistical errors normally associated with sample-based information.