A couple celebrates Thanksgiving with friends by having dinner together over a Zoom video call on Nov. 22, 2020, in New York City. (Scott Heins/Getty Images)
A couple celebrates Thanksgiving with friends by having dinner together over a Zoom video call on Nov. 22, 2020, in New York City. (Scott Heins/Getty Images)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has cautioned Americans to avoid holiday travel this year because of the COVID-19 outbreak. And while it’s not yet clear how many Americans will heed that advice for the upcoming Christmas holiday, more than half (57%) say they changed their Thanksgiving plans due to the pandemic, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

We conducted this survey to find out more about Americans’ holiday plans during the coronavirus outbreak. For this analysis, we surveyed 12,648 U.S. adults from Nov. 18-29, 2020. Everyone who completed the survey is a member of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology.

White and Black adults include those who report being only one race and are not Hispanic. Hispanics are of any race. Asian adults were interviewed in English only.

Here are the questions used for this report, along with responses, and its methodology.

Visit our interactive data tool to access the questions included in this report, as well as content about the coronavirus outbreak and the 2020 presidential election.

A majority of Americans say they changed their Thanksgiving plans due to COVID-19

Overall, a third of U.S. adults (33%) say they changed their Thanksgiving plans “a great deal,” while roughly a quarter (24%) changed their plans “some.” Another 38% of adults say their plans changed “not too much” (16%) or “not at all” (21%), according to the survey of 12,648 U.S. adults, conducted Nov. 18 to 29 as part of the Center’s American News Pathways project. The United States has recorded more than 17.7 million cases of COVID-19, including more than 316,000 deaths.

Partisan differences over many aspects of COVID-19 have been apparent since the early days of the outbreak, and those differences extend to the share of Americans who say they changed their Thanksgiving plans because of the virus. Seven-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they changed their Thanksgiving plans a great deal or some due to the virus, compared with 44% of Republicans and GOP leaners.

Democrats and Republicans differ over several other aspects of everyday life amid the outbreak, according to a separate Pew Research Center report based on the same survey. For example, eight-in-ten Republicans say they would feel comfortable visiting with a close friend or family member inside their home, compared with 52% of Democrats. And while 64% of Republicans say they would feel comfortable eating out in a restaurant, the figure falls to 27% among Democrats.

The share of Americans who say they changed their Thanksgiving plans due to COVID-19 varies by education level as well as partisanship. Seven-in-ten adults with a postgraduate education and 66% of those with a bachelor’s degree say they changed their Thanksgiving plans a great deal or some due to the outbreak. That compares with 53% of adults with some college education and 51% of adults with a high school diploma or less education.

Adults under 30 are somewhat less likely than older Americans to say they changed their Thanksgiving plans this year. About half of Americans ages 18 to 29 say this (51%), compared with 58% of those ages 30 to 49, 56% of those 50 to 64 and 62% of those 65 and older.

There are no major differences by gender, race or ethnicity on whether U.S. adults changed their Thanksgiving plans a great deal or some, though Hispanic adults are slightly more likely than White adults to say they did so (62% vs. 55%). White Americans are the most likely to say they did not change their plans – 41% say this, compared with 34% of Black Americans, 30% of Hispanic Americans and 24% of Asian Americans.

The Center’s recent survey found that the share of Americans who changed their Thanksgiving plans also varies by where people get their news, particularly among Republicans.

Shajia Abidi  is an associate web developer.
John Gramlich  is a senior writer/editor at Pew Research Center.