May 12, 2020


Categorization of COVID-19 county health impact in this report

This report uses the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in each respondent’s county as a measure of the scale of the health impact of the outbreak for each individual in the survey. Counties are categorized as having a high, medium or low number of COVID-19 deaths.

Counties are classified as “high” if they had 100 or more deaths as of May 1. “Low” counties had fewer than 10. The remaining counties are classified as “medium” impact.

Data for deaths attributed to COVID-19 by county are taken from the 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) Data Repository maintained at John Hopkins University (downloaded on May 8).

Defining income tiers

To create upper-, middle- and lower-income tiers, respondents’ 2018 family incomes were adjusted for differences in purchasing power by geographic region and for household size. “Middle-income” adults live in families with annual incomes that are two-thirds to double the median family income in the American Trends Panel (after incomes have been adjusted for the local cost of living and for household size). The middle-income range for the panel is about $37,500 to $112,600 annually for a three-person household. Lower-income families have incomes less than roughly $37,500, and upper-income families have incomes greater than roughly $112,600.

Based on these adjustments, among respondents who provided their income and household size, 32% are lower income, 45% are middle income and 23% fall into the upper-income tier.

For more information about how the income tiers were determined, please see here.