Falling Behind: 40% of American families struggle with financial problems made worse by the pandemic
Nearly 40% of U.S. households have faced serious financial problems, including struggling to afford medical care and food, in the last few months, according to a survey published on October 11.
The survey by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health also showed that in those last few months, as the U.S. struggled to contain the infectious Delta coronavirus variant, the percentage of households reporting serious financial problems rose to 59% when they had an income under $50,000 a year.
Among those lower-income households, 30% said they had lost all their savings during the coronavirus pandemic.
Reports of serious financial problems were not equal across racial and ethnic groups: 57% of Latinos, 56% of Black people and 50% of Native Americans said they had experienced serious financial problems in the past few months, compared with 29% of white people.
The problems were reported despite government assistance meant to lessen the financial burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of households surveyed, 67% said they had received financial assistance from the government in the past few months.
The survey of roughly 3,600 US adults was conducted between August 2 and September 7. It also found that among households with children in kindergarten through high school, 69% said their children had fallen behind because of the pandemic.
In the past few months, 17% of households reported serious problems affording medical care, including 28% of households with annual incomes below $50,000.
Among Asian American households, 25% reported fear of being threatened or physically attacked because of their race or ethnicity. For Native American households that figure was 22%; it was 21% among Black households, 8% among Latino households and 7% among white households.
Ismаеl Pаramоh and Ааrоn Dоucеtt
Portions originally published on The Guardian as Serious financial problems afflict 40% of US households in recent months