Personal Wellbeing Index: Indians report improved personal relationships and sense of community amidst the Coronavirus lockdown
Team CVoter conducted a series of surveys in December 2019, April 2020 and May 2020 to find out the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) of Indians across the country. The PWI asks respondents about their levels of satisfaction corresponding to different domains in their life such as their standard of living, health, personal relationships, future security and others.
Respondents rate their levels of satisfaction on a scale of 0 (least satisfied) to 10 (most satisfied) for all domains. In today’s infographic, Team Polstrat breaks down how Indians’ satisfaction with their personal relationships and feeling part of their community has changed before and during the Coronavirus crisis. On March 25th, the Indian government announced a nation-wide lockdown, forcing 1.35 billion people to stay at home and practice social distancing. However, despite socially isolating, Indians have reported a higher level of satisfaction with feeling part of a community and their personal relationships.
Overall, we observe Indians reported a higher level of satisfaction with both their personal relationships and feeling part of their community in Wave 3 (May 2020) than before the Coronavirus (December 2019). Additionally, there was a roughly 2 point decline in satisfaction levels with feeling a part of the community and personal relationships in Wave 2 (April) right after the lockdown had been put into effect. However, these figures recover substantially in the next wave of the survey undertaken in May.
Who is most satisfied with their personal relationships?
While freshers (below 25) and young people (25–45) have reported an increase in satisfaction with their personal relationships during the Coronavirus crisis (May), middle-age groups (45–60) and old age groups (60 and above) have reported a decline in satisfaction for the same time period. Overall, all age groups reported a decline in satisfaction in personal relationships in wave 2 of the survey just when the nation-wide lockdown had been put into effect. This could be attributed to the fact that people had just begun to stay at home and were getting used to social distancing.
However, in wave 3 of the survey, those in the old age group report the highest decline in (0.7 points) satisfaction with personal relationships. This could be due to the fact that older people are considered the most vulnerable to the Coronavirus and ask to be the most socially distant.
When comparing people’s satisfaction levels with their personal relationships before and during the Coronavirus lockdown across occupations, we observe a varied response. Landless agricultural workers record the highest level of increase in satisfaction with personal relationships of 5 points during the Coronavirus lockdown than before. Overall, the Indian Railways has run around 800 special shramik trains to transport over 10 lakh migrant workers back to their homes, which could have aided their satisfaction levels with personal relationships. At the same time, general labour records an overall decrease of 0.73 points for the same time period. Government and private sector employees record a slight decrease in overall satisfaction with personal relationships of 0.02 points and 0.32 points respectively.
Additionally, when comparing satisfaction levels across rural and urban areas, we observe that those living in rural areas have reported a higher level of satisfaction during the Coronavirus crisis than before. While those living in rural and semi-urban areas have reported an increase of 0.63 points and 0.26 points from December 2019 to May 2020, those living in urban areas have reported a decline of 0.34 points for the same time period.
In the first wave of the survey in December 2019, respondents in urban areas reported the highest satisfaction with their personal relationships (7.48), however, during the Coronavirus crisis they reported the lowest level of satisfaction (7.14). On the other hand, those living in rural areas reported the lowest satisfaction in December (7.27) and the highest during the Coronavirus crisis in May (7.9).
Who is most satisfied with feeling like a part of the community?
Across social groups, there has been a significant increase in people’s satisfaction with feeling like a part of their community from December 2019 to May 2020. Groups that have reported the highest level of increase are Christians (2.98 point increase), Others (1.43 point increase), Scheduled Tribes (0.78 point increase) and Sikhs (0.73 point increase). The only group that reported a slight decrease in satisfaction levels was Other Backward Classes (OBC) (a decline of 0.26 points).
It is also interesting to note that while respondents living in rural (8.14 points, increase of 1.32 points) and semi-urban areas (7.47, increase of 0.23 points ) have reported higher satisfaction with feeling a part of their community during the Coronavirus crisis in May, those living in urban areas have reported a slight decline in the same (7.0 points, decline of 0.17).
Similarly, across occupation groups, most respondents reported an increase in satisfaction with feeling like a part of their community during the Coronavirus Crisis (May 2020) than before (December 2019). Interestingly, the highest increase in satisfaction levels was reported by landless agricultural labour (1.65 point increase), housewives (1.65 point increase), business owners (0.87 point increase). At the same time, land-owning farmers and contractual workers reported a decline in satisfaction.
This increase in sense of community could be attributed to government relief funds being allocated for all segments of workers, including small businesses, migrant workers, farmers, vendors and others. The Central Government has not only announced cash and social security transfers, including free food gains and cooking gas cylinders but additionally has also promised an Rs. 20 trillion package pertaining to small businesses, migrant workers, farmers, street vendors to ease the financial brunt of the lockdown.
Additionally, knowing that all members of your community are undergoing the same financial and social hardships and uncertainty also provide comfort to people, helping contribute to an increased sense of community. About a third of the world’s population, including people in countries such as the United States, Italy, Germany, Australia, and countless others are under some form of lockdown, which could perhaps contribute to a feeling of satisfaction. Across the world, millions of people every day come out of their house every day to cheer for healthcare and essential workers, companies are expressing their gratitude to those fighting against coronavirus by offering benefits, NGOs and charities are organizing drives to help provide food and essentials to those in need all of which could perhaps account for an increased feeling of community amongst people.
From Polstrat, a non-partisan political consultancy which aims to shift the narrative of political discourse in the country from a problem-centric to a solutions-oriented approach. All survey findings and projections are based on the Team CVoter “Personal Wellbeing Survey” survey carried out in December 2019, April 2020 and May 2020 among 18+ adults statewide, including every major demographic (Sample Size: 2488). Team CVoter (Center For Voting Opinions and Trends in Election Research) is a leading international stakeholder research organization with its roots in India.