The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Straining Families' Abilities to Afford Basic Needs

The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Straining Families' Abilities to Afford Basic Needs

The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is causing serious material hardship, with 31 percent of adult respondents to a survey reporting that their families could not pay the rent, mortgage, or utility bills, were food insecure, or went without medical care at some point over the last thirty days, a report from the Urban Institute finds. Based on a survey conducted between March 25 and April 10, the report, The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Straining Families' Abilities to Afford Basic Needs (21 pages, PDF), found that 41.5 percent of respondents said they or at least one of their family members had lost a job (17.1 percent), had their work hours reduced (28.8 percent), or seen a reduction in work-related income (27.8 percent), including 56.9 percent of Latinx respondents and around half of households earning 250 percent of the federal poverty level or less. As a result, 30.6 percent of all respondents said their families had reduced their spending on food, 43.1 percent had put off a major purchase, and 27.9 percent had drawn down savings or added to their credit card debt, with higher percentages among those who had suffered job or income losses as well as low-income, African-American, and Latinx respondents. "Maintaining public and political will for extending social distancing measures and keeping people housed depend," the report's authors argue, "on easing financial pressure on people who have been forced to stop working or have otherwise lost income from jobs or businesses."

(Photo credit: Feeding America)