Parenthood and Politics in the Era of COVID-19

29 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2021

Date Written: January 8, 2021


During 2020, the United States has undergone massive changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the additional demands created on parents due to working at home, on-line schooling, and caring for children 24/7, there is every reason to expect America’s parents to suffer disproportionately from the impacts of the pandemic. Using a COVID-focused nationally representative survey from September 2020, we explore how COVID-19 has uniquely affected the attitudes and life experiences of American parents. We find that COVID-19 has been unusually burdensome for parents as they are more likely to have contracted COVID, experienced negative mental health outcomes, perceived a greater threat from COVID, and had more negative personal financial impacts. Additionally, we find that parents are more skeptical of vaccines and that parents prefer on-line education. Importantly, most all of our impacts for parenthood, vaccines excepted, hold up in multi-variate models with additional demographic and political controls, strongly suggesting that parenthood itself is uniquely challenging in the current pandemic.

Keywords: Parenthood, public opinion, COVID-19

Suggested Citation

Elder, Laurel and Greene, Steven, Parenthood and Politics in the Era of COVID-19 (January 8, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Laurel Elder

Hartwick College ( email )

1 Hartwick College Drive
United States
6074314887 (Phone)


Steven Greene (Contact Author)

Professor ( email )

Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27695
United States

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