Black, Latinx, Native American households hit hard by COVID-19

Black, Latinx, Native American households hit hard by COVID-19

African Americans, Latinx, and Native Americans are disproportionately more likely to be experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a report from National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds. 

The second in a series of reports based on a survey of nearly thirty-five hundred adults conducted between July 1 and August 3, the report, The Impact of Coronavirus on Households, by Race/Ethnicity (72 pages, PDF), found that 72 percent of Latinx respondents, 60 percent of African American respondents, and 55 percent of Native American respondents were experiencing "serious financial problems" as a result of the pandemic, compared with 37 percent of Asian Americans and 36 percent of white Americans. Among Latinx respondents, 46 percent said they had used up their savings, while another 15 percent had had no savings to begin with and about a third were having problems with credit card bills, loans, or other debt (34 percent), utilities (33 percent ), and/or mortgage or rent (32 percent) payments. In addition, 63 percent of Latinx respondents said at least one member of the household had lost their job, been furloughed, or had their wages or hours reduced; 25 percent were having problems paying for needed medical care; and 20 percent said someone in the household had been unable to receive medical care for a serious problem.

Among African-American respondents, 41 percent had depleted their savings and 10 percent had had no savings to begin with, while three in ten reported having problems with credit card bills, loans, or other debt (31 percent), utilities (29 percent), and/or mortgage or rent (28 percent) payments; 44 percent said at least one member of the household had lost their job, been furloughed, or had their wages or hours reduced; 18 percent were having problems paying for needed medical care; and 18 percent said someone in the household had been unable to receive medical care for a serious problem.

And among Native American respondents, 41 percent had depleted their savings and 9 percent had had no savings to begin with, while about a quarter reported having problems with credit card bills, loans, or other debt (26 percent), utilities (25 percent), and/or mortgage or rent (24 percent) payments; 46 percent said at least one member of the household had lost their job, been furloughed, or had their wages or hours reduced; 12 percent were having problems paying for needed medical care; and 36 percent said someone in the household had been unable to receive medical care for a serious problem.

In addition, the survey found that 66 percent and 59 percent of Latinx and African-American households with children reported having problems with child care, including 36 percent of Latinx households and 29 percent of African-American respondents who said they were having difficulty managing their children's education. And nearly half (49 percent) of Latinx households with children, 35 percent of African-American households with children, and 51 percent of Native American households said they were having  problems with or did not have the high-speed Internet connection needed to do their job or schoolwork. 

"Before federal coronavirus support programs even expired, we find millions of people with very serious problems with their finances, health care, and with caring for children," said Robert J. Blendon, co-director of the survey and Richard L. Menschel Professor of Public Health and Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis Emeritus at 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."

(Photo credit: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)

"The Impact of Coronavirus on Households, by Race/Ethnicity." National Public Radio, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health report 09/16/2020. "Poll: Majorities of Latino, Black, and Native American households across the U.S. report facing serious financial problems during the coronavirus outbreak." Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health press release 09/16/2020.