Quality of life during COVID-19

Eurofound’s unique e-survey, Living, working and COVID-19, provides a snapshot of the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives, with the aim of helping policymakers to bring about an equal recovery from the crisis. Three rounds of the e-survey have been carried out to date.

  • Round 1: Launched on 9 April 2020 when most Member States were in their first lockdown
  • Round 2: July 2020 when economies and societies were gradually reopening
  • Round 3: March 2021, almost a year on, as countries were still dealing with various levels of lockdown to curb the spread of new strains of the virus, while vaccination programmes were rolled out.

The data cover a range of topics including life satisfaction, happiness, optimism and resilience, health, support and (mental) well-being. Compare the data for each round and explore by country, gender and age.

Key findings

  • Mental well-being has reached its lowest level across all age groups since the onset of the crisis over a year ago. This is especially prominent among young people and those who have lost their job.   
  • Existing inequalities are widening because of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on vulnerable groups. Women, young people and those on the margins of society are consistently affected by job loss, poor work-life balance and financial insecurity. New findings show that difficulties in making ends meet increased significantly among those already in a precarious situation.    
  • As well as disease and death, COVID-19 has taken a mental toll on citizens as more fearing illness, economic hardship and uncertainty about the real impact of the crisis. Policymakers will need to consider how prolonged restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have increased feelings of loneliness, depression and tension. Providing targeted support to address the mental health fallout must be a key element of ongoing measures.  
  • To prevent those hardest hit by the impact of the crisis from falling further behind, policymakers will need to take a holistic approach to the provision of support. Failure to prevent the continued rise of inequalities among citizens and between Member States risks further undermining trust of Europeans in their institutions, as well as triggering political discontent.    
  • Interestingly, people’s outlook of their financial situation is brighter for many Europeans. In seven Member States pessimism about the future is lower than summer 2020. Job insecurity overall is also lower than the start of the pandemic although higher than July 2020.  

Background and data collection

Suggested citation

Eurofound (2020), Living, working and COVID-19 dataset, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19data

Comments, feedback, questions? Let us know!


In light of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020, it should be noted that data published on the Eurofound website may include the 28 EU Member States, as the UK was covered in earlier research. This will be progressively amended to reflect the current composition of the 27 EU Member States.