Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they’re more selfless than ever before thanks to pandemic

NEW YORK — Despite COVID-19 keeping many people in isolation, a new study finds it may actually be bringing people closer together. In fact, 64 percent of Americans say 2020 has made them more selfless than ever before.

A poll of 2,005 Americans discovered that since March 2020, 41 percent have helped a stranger across the street. People are clearly embracing the idea of neighborly love. Thirty-eight percent have gone out of their way to take out their neighbor’s trash while another 31 percent have walked a neighbor’s dog. One in three people have even shoveled out a neighbor’s car over the past year.

Giving back even during tough times

Selfless COVIDThe study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Eyes of Hope — the charitable arm of VSP Global, aimed to discover how people are dealing with the impacts of the pandemic. Researchers find 74 percent believe 2020 has made them more aware of the needs of others.

Seventy-two percent of those surveyed found themselves caring about the health and wellbeing of others significantly more than ever before. Despite the economic crash, a staggering 87 percent of Americans have donated a portion of their paycheck during COVID-19.

Unfortunately, others truly felt the weight of the pandemic on their shoulders. Three in five say they experienced financial difficulties over the past year.

Beyond financial struggles, 65 percent admit putting off doctor’s appointments since March 2020. Some of the reasons for this include losing their health insurance (44%), not being able to afford the co-pay (46%), and worries about contracting COVID-19 (64%).

“It’s been incredibly meaningful to see how the challenges of the last year have caused us to care even more for each other. This study validates what we’ve been hearing from our employees and charitable partners: people are looking to better the lives of others and their communities because they envision a greater purpose after such a devastating year,” says Pat McNeil, a spokesperson for VSP Eyes of Hope, in a statement.

Selfishness is a major turn-off

Selfless COVIDSixty-nine percent of the poll report having concerns about being unable to afford vision care for themselves or family members. Sadly, 72 percent don’t even think they have the ability to help loved ones if and when their health begins to suffer or becomes an issue.

“Certainly, the pandemic has created healthcare barriers for so many. We’ve seen firsthand the impacts on access to vision care at a time when seeing each other onscreen has been so valuable for keeping us connected. It’s more important than ever that we all work together to ensure that everyone has access to the resources they need to keep themselves and their families healthy,” McNeil adds.

Ultimately, while 2020 was a difficult year for many, seven in 10 say it’s made them a better person overall. As a result, respondents tell researchers they’re not wasting their time dating people who they consider selfish. Two in three Americans add not being charitable and helping others is a major dating turn-off.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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