The American Quality of Work and Economic Life Study (also known as “A-QWELS” for short) is comprised of a series of nationally representative surveys of American workers.  

The first survey took place in November of 2020 with 4,024 workers. We then conducted another survey of 2,505 workers in November of 2021. In January of 2022, we conducted a third survey that followed up the 2021 sample along with new cases for a total of 2,015 workers.  

Our plan is to continue to survey Americans throughout the pandemic and after it subsides.

Key Questions:

The rapid onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the lives of Americans—across the socioeconomic spectrum, but especially those in more precarious work and financial circumstances. In the context of these historic transformations, we ask: 

(1) What are the short- and longer-term effects on the quality of work and economic life of Americans?   

(2) How will these changes impact social, mental, and physical well-being over time?

(3) What resources are most effective for coping to help weaken the harmful effects of role disruptions and strains?

To answer these questions, we will trajectories of change in employment, work, and economic conditions over the course of the pandemic—with a focus on job insecurity and disruption, financial strain, and restructuring of the work-home interface. We also describe how these disruptions and transitions correspond to functioning—especially the sense of powerlessness, mistrust, social isolation, and loneliness—and then trace the consequences for sleep problems and different forms of emotional distress.