Detailed map of where Americans are at home for Thanksgiving

Public health officials are begging Americans to stay home this year for Thanksgiving. And, despite the busy airport last weekend, most people plan to follow their advice, according to a large survey that asked Americans about their vacation plans.

The map above shows the geographical variation of those plans, and there is also a division of factions. But even among Republicans, two-thirds have a large traditional Thanksgiving.

Our data was obtained from a number of interviews conducted by global data and research firm Dynata at the request of the New York Times. The company asked about Thanksgiving plans and received more than 150,000 survey responses between November 13th and 23rd. This is enough data to provide a more detailed estimate than at the state level.

Nationally, research found that only about 27 percent of Americans plan to eat with people outside their homes. That number is in close agreement with the results of several recent small studies, including researchers at YouGov, the Covid States Project, and Ohio State University. In these surveys, less than one-third of Americans will celebrate in groups.

It is also consistent with the results of another informal Times survey of epidemiologists. Of the 635 public health professionals, only about 21 percent planned to celebrate Thanksgiving with people outside the family. Two surveys of ordinary Americans and epidemiologists used the wording of the same question.

Extensive research by Americans and epidemiologists gave a similar answer: most said they would not celebrate Thanksgiving with people outside their families.

Percentage of non-family members and people eating Thanksgiving dinner

However, as the map shows, there are considerable regional differences in Thanksgiving plans, and it is much more likely that people from some parts of the country will come together. For example, in some parts of Vermont, only about 14% of households celebrate with people outside the household. In parts of Missouri, more than half of the population plans.

Public health officials are worried about Thanksgiving celebrations as cases of coronavirus have reached record highs in many parts of the country. Traditional holiday celebrations include long meals indoors and usually some trips, which can contribute to more cases of the disease. Last week, a series of federal and state health officials urged Americans to skip such plans and stay home for vacations.

Party identification seems to explain many variations of Thanksgiving plans.

Percentage of people eating Thanksgiving supper with non-family members by political party

Partisanship seems to explain many of the regional differences in Thanksgiving planning, as well as similar studies on mask wearing from summer. Overall, survey respondents identified as libertarian, green, or Republican members were more likely to plan multi-household Thanksgiving than non-Democratic or non-party members.

States that President Trump won in this month’s elections were generally more likely to have a higher percentage of multi-family Thanksgiving than states that Joe Biden won.

On average, Americans living in states where President Trump won in 2020 tended to say they were planning Thanksgiving with non-family members.

Percentage of non-family members and people eating Thanksgiving supper (by state)

Biden won

Trump won

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is the state with the lowest percentage of mixed-household appreciation planned in the survey, and he and other officials want scientists, not politicians, to deliver a public health message. Said he worked hard throughout the pandemic. But he and his wife, Trudy Insley, gave a “fireside talk” about Thanksgiving last week, this year focusing on forgetting family traditions. Coronavirus cases are increasing in Washington, and the state imposes new restrictions on commerce, but the number of cases there remains lower than in many other parts of the country. Mr Insley said he was pleased to see people in his state avoiding large Thanksgiving.

“We can now call it the most grateful state in the country,” he said. “We are grateful to our loved ones who want to stay alive for the next Thanksgiving.”

Samara Klar, an associate professor of political science at the University of Arizona, said that in the early days of the pandemic, there was minimal division between parties regarding public health advice. However, she said the diverse messages from political leaders were reflected by the divisions in favor of public health measures and self-reported mask wear. Thanksgiving plans seem to fit that broad pattern.

“There’s nothing specific to the Republican Party that reduces Republican concerns or causes panic because it’s specific to the Democratic Party,” she said. “But if there is a problem that people are not familiar with, people will reasonably seek clues from their leaders, and that’s why we see the gap.”

According to her study, partisan divisions regarding coronavirus prophylaxis tend to narrow where the virus has been particularly devastating.

There is some evidence that recent disastrous warnings from public health authorities are affecting American vacation plans. Our survey began collecting responses on November 13. Since November 19, when U.S. Disease Prevention and Management Center officials urged people to stay home for vacation and the White House Corona Antivirus Headquarters advised them to avoid indoor rallies, several Americans Plans to celebrate with outsiders have fallen from about 28% to about 25%, although the numbers have rebounded somewhat.

Most of the changes were among Republicans, who may have been more accustomed to changing advice from the White House than Democrats, and tended to be more cautious about the risk of coronavirus throughout the pandemic. was.

The November 19 CDC announcement, which urges Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving, may have had a minor impact.

Percentage of non-family members and those who said they would eat Thanksgiving supper by day

There is reason to suspect that more Americans are in Thanksgiving than these studies suggest. In general, investigators are often reluctant to admit behavior that may be deemed undesirable. And the pandemic has made the concept of “household” more flexible for many families. Many families put their neighbors, friends, and relatives in a “bubble” to limit Covid’s risk and expand social interaction. This week’s airport has been the busiest of all times since the pandemic became a national emergency, but Sunday’s air travel peaked at only half the normal holidays.

According to a Ohio State University survey, only 21% of adults say they celebrate with people outside their homes. However, according to another question, about 38% of people planned to celebrate in groups of 10 or more. This discrepancy is too large to be explained by a small number of large households in the country.

Iahn Gonsenhauser, one of the co-authors of the study, said he was worried that the answers to household questions could be colored by some combination of embarrassment and a flexible definition of households. But he said it was worth noting that most of the people in the survey seemed to keep the public health message in mind.

Dr. Gonsenhauser, Chief Quality and Patient Safety Officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said: “This is a much bigger message than those who say it’s not a good idea so far, and I don’t have a direct Thanksgiving.”

Detailed map of where Americans are at home for Thanksgiving

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