The Thanksgiving table will have fewer people around it for many Americans as one in four plans to attend remote video festivities and more than twice as many people plan to stay home instead of travel this year, according to a Monmouth University Poll.
Under a quarter of Americans will be traveling next week, including 10% who plan an overnight stay and 13% who plan to drive to a place and back on Thursday, pollsters found. In a typical year, just over half usually travel for Thanksgiving, 23% for an overnight stay and 30% for a same day venture.
Two-thirds of 18- to 34-year-olds plan on staying home this year, much higher than the 38% who say they usually stay home. While 73% of 35- to 54-year-olds plan on staying home compared to 41% usually, 84% of those 55 and up plan on staying home versus 53% usually.
More than half of those whose Thanksgiving plans usually include an overnight plan to stay home; and two-thirds of those who usually do a same day out-and-back plan on staying put, too.
On the other hand, among those who normally stay home, 1 in 10 actually plan to travel this year.
“The first big national family holiday during COVID will be a very different experience for most Americans,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, which conducted the poll before the CDC issued its recommendation against traveling for the holiday.
Just over half of Americans say their in-person Thanksgiving dinner will be smaller than usual, and just under half will spend the holiday with only their household or alone.
Democrats (68%) and independents (55%) are more likely than Republicans (37%) to be holding a smaller than usual holiday gathering this year, the poll found.
“As we have seen in so many other aspects of the pandemic, the extent to which people choose to take extra precautions for Thanksgiving is being driven in part by politics,” Murray said.
Half (50%) of the public is very concerned about someone in their family becoming seriously ill from COVID and an additional 25% are somewhat concerned. Still, 13% are not too concerned, and 10% are not at all concerned.
Different demographics share varying levels of concern.
People of color (62%) are more likely than non-Hispanic whites (42%) to be very concerned about a family member becoming seriously ill with COVID; and Democrats (73%) are more likely than independents (49%) and Republicans (32%) to be very concerned.
More than half of the country (54%) says that the current pandemic has had a major impact on their lives. While 29% say it’s had a minor impact, some 17% say there’s been no impact at all.
The poll surveyed 810 adults between Nov. 12 and 16 for this study.