COVID-19: The Effect it is Having on Low-Income Communities
By: Divya Palasamudram
In a recent study of over 9,000 adults, over half of low-income adults reported job loss or wage loss. Out of a quarter of families that reported experiencing food insecurity, a third of these households were low-income Black and Hispanic. In another survey, a third of families reported material hardship, which is the state of not being able to afford basic goods and services, such as medical care, clothing, housing, and food. Out of this third, half of the low income Hispanic and Black families reported material hardship. There is clearly a trend that can be identified here: low-income families, mostly of minority groups, are being hit the hardest by the pandemic in multiple ways. The reality is, although low-income minority families need the most help during the pandemic, there are many factors stacked up against them that go beyond not having enough money.
Why are unemployment rates due to COVID-19 higher in low-income adults?
Many low-income adults work essential jobs, which, in many cases, are jobs that do not allow one to work from home. Essential jobs include jobs in construction, retail, babysitting, etc. Since COVID-19 restrictions do not allow for many people to work outside, a large number of essential workers are being laid off, leaving many low-income families in a further compromised state.
How does location matter?
According to The Atlantic, housing makes up about 60% of the average American’s household wealth. Unfortunately, many houses in low-income communities are valued less because of their location. Meaning if the same house were in a different, wealthier community, it would sell for a higher price. This is one factor that causes low-income families to be in an already disadvantaged state and the effects of the pandemic only add to the problem.
Jenco, Melissa. “Study: COVID-19 Pandemic Exacerbated Hardships for Low-Income, Minority Families.” American Academy of Pediatrics, 4 Dec. 2020, www.aappublications.org/news/2020/06/03/covid19hardships060320.
White, Gillian B. “Not All Money Troubles Are Created Equal.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 21 Aug. 2020, www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/racial-inequality-money-problems/479349/.