Poll finds racial disparity in financial problems during pandemic

A new poll has found racial disparity among those facing serious financial problems during the coronavirus pandemic.

At least four in 10 Latino, Black and Native American households report using up all or most of their household savings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were completely taken aback by the level of people reporting serious problems,” said the survey’s co-director, Dr. Robert Blendon of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We just didn’t expect the level of problems that people would report.”

The data is from a new poll titled “The Impact of Coronavirus on Households, By Race/Ethnicity.”

It’s a joint effort from National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Just think, if anything goes wrong, the savings are gone,” Blendon said. “There is not a cushion to help these very high risk groups.”

In Latino households, 72% report facing serious financial problems during the coronavirus pandemic. That number was 60% in Black households and 55% in Native American households.

Additionally, more than six in 10 Latino households reported household members have lost their jobs, been furloughed, or had wages or hours reduced since the start of the pandemic.

The survey reports that about half of Latino households with children report either having serious problems with their internet connections to do schoolwork or their jobs, or not having a high-speed internet connection at home.

The report’s findings “raise important concerns about disproportionate impacts of the coronavirus outbreak reported by Latino, Black and Native American households beyond the elevated health risks they face battling COVID-19.”

The poll was conducted from July 1 to Aug. 3 among an address-based representative sample of U.S. adults ages 18 or older. They were asked to report on serious problems facing both themselves and others living in their households and for all questions asked about the household, measures were reported as a percentage of households.

The overall margin of error was 3.3 percentage points.

Read the entire report online.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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