NEW YORK (AP) – Karen Gliden’s loneliness became unbearable during the coronavirus epidemic.
The 72-year-old widow, who suffers from vision loss, diabetes and lives far away from relatives, barely left her home in Champion, Michigan last year for fear of contracting the virus. Finally vaccinated, he was looking forward to coming out when his beloved service dog died last month.
It does not help that the circle of his trusted friends has decreased to a relative who hoped to help him buy a shop, go to the doctor or go out.
“It seems to me that I’m mostly in jail, I’m going out sometimes,” said Glide, whose adult children live in California, Hawaii, where she was born and raised.
He is not alone in his sense of social isolation.
Millions of Americans are struggling with a few people they can trust for personal, professional help, which is the main obstacle to recovery from the social, emotional and economic consequences of the epidemic. Project and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The survey found that 18% of US adults, or about 46 million people, say they have only one person or no one they can trust to help with their personal life, such as child care emergencies, going to the airport. or supporting when they fall. sick And 28% say they have only one person or no one they can trust to help with a resume, joining an employer, or finding challenges in the workplace.
Isolation is most acute among Hispanic Americans. Thirty-eight percent of white adults 35 35% of Hispanic adults said they had only one or no trusted person to help them orient themselves in their working lives, compared with 26% of white adults. In their personal life, 30% of Spanish-speaking adults 25 25% of adults say they have one or no trusted person, while 14% of white adults say the same.
Researchers have long debated the idea that the United States has suffered from declining social capital or the value of civic engagement.
The General Social Survey, a national representative survey conducted by NORC since 1972, says the number of people Americans think they can trust has declined since the early 2000s. , compared to two decades ago, although there is little agreement on the extent of that isolation or the reasons for it. The rise of social media has added another layer to the debate as experts find out whether they are expanding networks or attracting people to isolation wards.
The Impact Genome / AP-NORC survey was designed to measure how much social capital Americans can count on as they try to take the pieces of life broken by the epidemic. The findings suggest that for many Americans, the epidemic wiped out any social capital they used in it.
Americans are more likely to see a decline than the number of people they could trust over the past year. Only 6% of Americans said their network of trusted people was growing, while 16% said it was shrinking. Although the majority of Americans said that people’s trust remained the same, almost 3 in 10 said they asked for less support from family and friends because of COVID-19.
Community bonds have proven to be important for recovery after the 2012 Sandy Flood disaster, says Jennifer Benz, deputy director of the AP-NORC Center.
But the nature of the epidemic made it difficult or even impossible to maintain those ties. Schools, community centers, churches, synagogues, and mosques were closed. People could not seek help from relatives or grandparents for child care or other needs for fear of spreading the virus.
According to a new survey, about half of Americans are involved in civic groups such as religious institutions, schools or community service groups. And 42% of all adults said they were less involved in civic groups during the epidemic, while only 21% said they were more involved.
“Compared to the possibility of using social capital in other disasters, the main difference is that this is the disaster when your civic duty had to be self-sufficient,” said Benz.
Research by the Pew Research Center suggests that resettlement has increased during the epidemic. While some people moved closer to family, more people moved because of job loss or other financial stress.
Warlin Ross, 29, has often moved in pursuit of financial stability, often at the cost of his social connections.
He left his entire family, including his 14 brothers and sisters, when he immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic five years ago. He worked in a Chicago warehouse for three years, sharing an apartment with his girlfriend. But when that relationship broke down, he could not afford to move on his own. In December 2019, he moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where one of his childhood friends allowed him to move.
Rosson said the friend remains the only person Exxon he can trust for help. When the epidemic ended, Rosso was struggling in a small Spanish-speaking city.
Through social media, she found a job with a man from Nicaragua who had a construction business. She later found a training program that gave her a job as a hospital assistant.
His colleagues are friendly, but he feels isolated. Sometimes, she said, patients rudely ask for help from a non-Latino worker. He hopes to eventually get a similar job in Chicago, where he has friends.
“It is not always welcome for Spanish speakers here,” Rosso said. “Look, I’m alone.”
The AP-NORC survey of 2,314 adults was conducted from March 25 to April 15 using a sample of the NORC probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel for the US population. The sampling error range for all respondents is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.