What are Americans doing for New Year’s Eve 2020?

December 28, 2020, 3:46 PM UTC

One in four say they will be celebrating it with people from outside their household

There was a surge in COVID-19 cases after Thanksgiving. Whatever surge that follows Christmas is yet to be measured.  But there is another event on the horizon that could make the situation even worse: New Year’s Eve.

One in four Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll say they expect to be celebrating it with others – about half the number that had planned to spend Christmas with others this year. One in five Americans are celebrating both holidays with others.

Like Christmas celebrations, New Year’s Eve events will be more common among Republicans than Democrats, but welcoming the New Year is also a celebration for younger people.  A third of those under the age of 30 plan on celebrating New Year’s Eve with others, more than twice the share of those 65 and older saying that. 

Men are also more likely than women to be celebrating with others.

One in five will be celebrating with people outside their own households, including one in four of those under 30, as well as a similar proportion of those who identify as Republicans. Only 10% of Democrats will be welcoming in the New Year with people outside of their own households.

At least there will be less travel for New Year’s Eve parties than there was for Christmas, making New Year’s a much more local event. One in five adults (20%) report that they or someone with whom they planned to celebrate Christmas would travel for the December 25 festivities.  Fewer than half that percentage (9%) say that will be the case for their New Year’s party.

But there are other potentially dangerous ways to celebrate New Year’s that don’t involve heading to another state or town.  Some celebrants – especially men -- want to go out for New Year’s Eve, to a bar or to some other public place.  One in four of the men celebrating with others say they will be headed to a bar or public place; only 11% of female celebrants say that’s part of their plan. 

Nearly all the oldest adults who will be celebrating are staying home; younger adults are more likely to go out.

So… what are you doing New Year’s Eve?

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov Poll

MethodologyThe Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adults interviewed online between December 19 - 22, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.3% for the overall sample.   

Image: Getty