Press release

Good will to all mankind – we’re all a little nicer, despite a miserable year, survey finds

The UK public is acting more kindly as a result of events over the last 12 months, according to findings from a new poll.
In a poll by Savanta ComRes*, commissioned by Christian Aid, people said their behaviour had changed since the pandemic. When asked to think about certain kind gestures towards other people, 27% say they are writing more notes to people they don’t see often and 25% are saying hello to strangers in the street more than they did before.
People’s compassion stretches further than the UK, with two fifths (41%) of the public saying they worry about what is happening in the world more than before COVID, compared to just 9% who say they worry less. When broken down further into age categories, 18 to 24-year-olds have the highest percentage of increased worry at 46%, compared to 45 to 54-year-olds at 37%.
Respondents were also more likely to say they feel events in other parts of the world affect them and that they care more about people outside the UK more than before (26% and 19% respectively) than less than before (13% and 14% respectively).
Responding to the findings of the poll, Chine McDonald, Christian Aid’s Head of Community Fundraising and Public Engagement, said:
“Many of us will be glad to see the back of 2020. We have all experienced the devastating effects of the pandemic, not been able to see loved ones, and faced restrictions that have put limits on our lives on and off throughout the year. But our survey shows these difficult experiences have had some positive impact in the levels of compassion that people are feeling as we head towards Christmas.
“Christmas is a time of goodwill to all, so it’s not surprising to see that people are thinking about their neighbours. But it’s encouraging to see they are thinking not just about their neighbours near, but their neighbours far, too. Coronavirus has exacerbated poverty both here and around the world where many of the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities are struggling with multiple crises such as war, health and economic inequalities and extreme weather conditions, as well as the pandemic.
“We wait with hope to see if these increased levels of awareness are reflected in our Christmas appeal, helping families in Ethiopia where conflict, climate change, locusts and coronavirus are a deadly combination for one of the poorest countries in Africa.”
*Methodology note: Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,090 UK adults online between 4th and 6th December 2020. Data were weighted to be nationally representative of all UK adults by key demographic characteristics including age, gender, region and social grade. Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables at