economy COVID

Are We There Yet?



Under the faithful assumption that our neighbors know more than we do, we wanted to crowdsource when Americans think the country will be allowed to return to normal economic activity. The median estimate is 5.7 months from now. But like all things American, there is some disagreement.


Using a proportional-hazards timing model, we analyzed differences in expectations by demographic characteristics. Americans 65 and older think the economy will return to normal activity more than a month later than Americans aged 18-30 (6.8 vs 5.5 months). Will the sage wisdom of the Boomer generation teach young Americans a valuable lesson in patience?


Households that earn less than $25,000 don’t expect an economic normal until 8 months from now — the longest of any demographic group.


Since a return to full economic activity is partially dependent on finding a cure for COVID-19, we applied the same model to Americans’ expected wait time for a cure.  The median expected wait time is 10.7 months


Again, Boomers and low-income households don’t expect a cure anytime soon. Senior citizens have the longest time horizon and are mentally prepared to wait 14 months.

We couldn’t end an article on disagreement without a nod to differences by gender. Female Americans anticipate an additional four months (12.9) will be necessary before a cure is available over male estimates of 8.7 months.


It’s no longer just restless kids in the backseat asking “Are we there yet?”