Personal and public health increased in importance for one-in-four U.S. adults during the COVID-19 pandemic according to a Pew Research Center report published Aug. 18.

The survey presented adults with an open-ended prompt in early May: “Some people say they have changed their priorities since the coronavirus outbreak. What about you? Please describe if there is something that has become MORE important to you, personally, since the coronavirus outbreak.”

A plurality (26%) of respondents said protecting their personal health, listening to public health officials and taking health precautions had become more important in their lives, with 21% saying the opportunity to gather in larger groups, socializing face to face and going out had become more important.

One-in-10 said devaluing work and developing a new appreciation for life, 9% avoiding crowds and staying at home, 8% protecting other people’s health, 7% personal freedom, 5% negative views toward elected officials and 4% financial goals.

Only 2% of respondents said religion / faith had grown in importance during the pandemic, tied for ninth in the list of responses with “not listening to public health officials or taking health precautions” and holding negative views of the news media.

Respondents were also asked to share what had become less important during the pandemic, with a plurality (35%) saying being in large gatherings, going out and socializing in person.

Work / going to the office (9%) was the second most common response to the question about what had become less important, followed by caring about what other people think of you / your views (6%), material things and money (4%), and protecting health / listening to public health officials / taking health precautions (4%), and listening to elected officials (3%).

No respondents said religion / faith had become less important during the pandemic.

The full report is available here. The topline results are available here. The methodology, noting a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6 percentage points, is available here.

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