USA TODAY US Edition

Mi­nor­ity house­holds hit hard­est by eco­nomic woes

- Grace Hauck Infectious Diseases · Health Care · Health Conditions · United States of America · Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health · Harvard, IL · New York County, NY · Los Angeles · Houston · New York City · York City F.C. · New York · Harvard University · Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

As the U.S. ap­proached 200,000 deaths from the coro­n­avirus pan­demic last week, a re­port pro­vided fur­ther ev­i­dence that Black, Latino and Na­tive Amer­i­can house­holds are bear­ing the brunt of the out­break’s eco­nomic fall­out.

Nearly half of U.S. house­holds in the na­tion’s four largest cities re­ported se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial prob­lems amid the pan­demic, ac­cord­ing to a series of re­ports called “The Im­pact of Coro­n­avirus.”

NPR, The Robert Wood John­son Foun­da­tion and the Har­vard T.H. Chan School of Pub­lic Health con­ducted a five-part polling series in July and Au­gust of more than 3,400 adults in New York, Los An­ge­les, Chicago and Houston.

The re­searchers asked res­i­dents about their fi­nances, em­ploy­ment, health care, hous­ing, trans­porta­tion, care­giv­ing and well-be­ing amid the pan­demic.

Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, ap­prox­i­mately 17% of house­holds re­ported miss­ing or de­lay­ing pay­ing any ma­jor bills to en­sure ev­ery­one had enough to eat, 16% re­ported se­ri­ous prob­lems af­ford­ing food, and 7% re­ported se­ri­ous prob­lems not get­ting food to eat ev­ery day.

But while a mi­nor­ity of white house­holds re­ported se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial prob­lems, the ma­jor­ity of Black, Latino and Na­tive Amer­i­can house­holds re­ported is­sues. About 37% of Asian and 36% of white house­holds re­port fac­ing se­ri­ous

fi­nan­cial prob­lems, com­pared with 72% of Latino house­holds, 60% of Black house­holds, and 55% of Na­tive Amer­i­can house­holds.

“The health and eco­nomic ram­i­fi­ca­tions of COVID-19 are con­tin­u­ing to hit Black, Latino, and Na­tive Amer­i­can house­holds the hard­est,” Dr. Richard Besser, pres­i­dent and CEO of The Robert Wood John­son Foun­da­tion, said in a state­ment. “This poll is the lat­est ev­i­dence that the abil­ity to pro­tect your­self or your fam­ily dur­ing the pan­demic is to a sig­nif­i­cant and un­con­scionable de­gree de­ter­mined by the color of your skin and how much money you have.”

Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, more than 6 in 10 Latino house­holds re­ported that an adult house­hold mem­bers had lost their job, been fur­loughed or had wages or hours re­duced since the start of the out­break. More than 4 in 10 Black and Na­tive Amer­i­can house­holds said the same.

A siz­able share of Latino, Black and Na­tive Amer­i­can house­holds also re­ported house­hold mem­bers had been un­able to get med­i­cal care for se­ri­ous prob­lems, of­ten re­sult­ing in neg­a­tive health con­se­quences.

And when it comes to in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity is­sues, about half of Na­tive Amer­i­can house­holds and more than 4 in 10 Latino and Black house­holds re­ported ei­ther hav­ing se­ri­ous prob­lems with their in­ter­net con­nec­tion to do their job or school­work, or that they do not have a high-speed in­ter­net con­nec­tion at home.

The trends were generally con­sis­tent across the four cities. How­ever, in New York City and Los An­ge­les, Latino house­holds re­ported the high­est rates of se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial is­sues, whereas Black house­holds re­ported the high­est rates of se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial is­sues in Chicago and Houston.

More than a third of Latino house­holds in New York re­ported miss­ing or de­lay­ing pay­ing ma­jor bills and se­ri­ous prob­lems af­ford­ing food. In Los An­ge­les, 45% of Latino house­holds re­ported se­ri­ous prob­lems af­ford­ing food.

In Chicago, nearly a third of Black house­holds re­ported se­ri­ous prob­lems af­ford­ing food, com­pared with about a fifth of Latino house­holds and just 1 in 20 white house­holds.

Houston saw the high­est rate of Black house­holds re­port­ing se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial prob­lems. In that city, 81% of Black house­holds re­ported se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial prob­lems, com­pared with 77% of Latino house­holds and 34% of white house­holds.

“Be­fore fed­eral coro­n­avirus sup­port pro­grams even ex­pired, we find mil­lions of peo­ple with very se­ri­ous prob­lems with their fi­nances, health­care, and with car­ing for chil­dren,” said Robert J. Blen­don, co-di­rec­tor of the sur­vey and a pro­fes­sor at the Har­vard T.H. Chan School of Pub­lic Health. “Though we want to be­lieve we are all in this to­gether, find­ings show prob­lems heav­ily con­cen­trated in Latino, Black, and Na­tive Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties.”

 ?? RICH PE­DRON­CELLI/AP FILE ?? Vis­i­tors use the un­em­ploy­ment in­surance phone bank in Sacra­mento, Calif. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey, 17% of house­holds re­ported miss­ing or de­lay­ing pay­ing ma­jor bills to in­stead en­sure ev­ery­one could eat.
RICH PE­DRON­CELLI/AP FILE Vis­i­tors use the un­em­ploy­ment in­surance phone bank in Sacra­mento, Calif. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey, 17% of house­holds re­ported miss­ing or de­lay­ing pay­ing ma­jor bills to in­stead en­sure ev­ery­one could eat.
 ?? TI­MOTHY A. CLARY/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES ?? More than 6 in 10 Latino house­holds re­ported that an adult had lost their job, been fur­loughed or had wages or hours re­duced. More than 4 in 10 Black and Na­tive Amer­i­can house­holds said the same.
TI­MOTHY A. CLARY/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES More than 6 in 10 Latino house­holds re­ported that an adult had lost their job, been fur­loughed or had wages or hours re­duced. More than 4 in 10 Black and Na­tive Amer­i­can house­holds said the same.

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