People of Color Bear the Economic Worst of COVID-19

NEW YORK (AP) – A year ago, Elvia Banuelos’ life was looking up. The 39-year-old mother, a mother of two young children, said she felt confident about a new managerial-level job at the U.S. Census Bureau: She would earn money to supplement the child support she receives to support her children. healthy, happy and in kindergarten. .

But when the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic Last March, by forcing hundreds of millions of people into a strict lockdown, Banuelos’ perspective changed. The new job failed, child support payments stopped due to job loss, and she became a stay-at-home mom when daycare centers closed.

“The only thing I could do was pay the rent, so everything else was difficult,” said Banuelos, of Orland, California.

Millions of Americans have experienced devastating numbers during the year-long coronavirus pandemic.From the loss of loved ones to the loss of jobs. More than 530,000 people have died in the U.S. Those losses have not affected all Americans equally, and communities of color have been especially hard hit by both the virus and the economic consequences.

A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that compared to white Americans, black and Hispanic Americans are more likely to have experienced job losses and other income during the pandemic, and who have lost income they are more likely to have found themselves in deep financial holes.

That adds to the fact that black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than white Americans to say that they are close to someone who has died from COVID-19 and are less likely to have received a vaccine.. The pandemic has killed African Americans and Hispanic Americans at rates disproportionate to their population in the US, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Banuelos, who identifies as Latina, said the disparity in pandemic experiences between “the upper class and people who are in a more difficult situation” became apparent to her early in the pandemic. Even after two rounds of direct stimulus federal checks, he felt he lagged behind well-off Americans.

The relief “didn’t last that long,” Banuelos said.

Overall, 62% of Hispanic Americans and 54% of African Americans have lost some form of family income during the pandemic, including job losses, pay cuts, cuts in hours and unpaid leave, compared to the 45% of white Americans.

For other racial and ethnic groups, including Asian Americans and Native Americans, the sample sizes are too small to analyze in the AP-NORC survey.

Jeremy Shouse, a manager at a North Carolina restaurant, saw his work hours drop sharply during the first months of the pandemic when the small business was forced to close. Shouse, a 33-year-old black man, said the restaurant has since reopened, but went from making more than $ 5,000 a day before the pandemic to just $ 200 in a few days.

“A year later and things are still not the same,” Shouse said, adding that his wages are down 20%.

About 6 in 10 Hispanics and about half of African Americans say their households still face the impacts of lost income from the pandemic, compared to about 4 in 10 white Americans. African Americans and Hispanic Americans are also especially likely to say that the impact has been significant.

“We found that systemic racism plays a huge role in this process,” said Rashawn Ray, a fellow for governance studies at the Brookings Institute and co-author of a recent report on racial disparities and the pandemic in Detroit. “I think what we’ll see once the dust settles is that the racial wealth gap has actually increased.”

There have long been racial disparities in the way Americans experience recessions and economic downturns. However, following a recovery from the Great Recession and well into the Trump administration, the unemployment gap between black and white Americans narrowed amid strong job growth and economic activity. But a recent analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that a gap that had narrowed to just 3 percentage points increased to 5.4 percentage points last August, erasing some of the gains made during the recovery.

The AP-NORC survey also finds that Hispanic Americans are especially likely to think that it will take a long time to get out of the financial hole. About half of Hispanics say they are still feeling the effects of lost income and that it will take at least six months for them to recover financially. About a third of black Americans say the same thing, compared to about a quarter of white Americans.

Forty-one percent of Hispanic Americans say their current household income is lower than it was at the start of the pandemic, compared to 29% of African Americans and 25% of whites.

And about 4 in 10 African Americans and Hispanics have not been able to pay a bill in the past month, compared to about 2 in 10 white Americans.

For people of color, the trauma experienced due to economic instability has been compounded by immense personal losses. About 30% of African Americans and Hispanic Americans say they have a close friend or relative who has died from the coronavirus since last March, compared to 15% of white Americans.

Debra Fraser-Howze, founder of Choose Healthy Life, an initiative that works to address public health disparities across the black church, said she is confident in the ability of the black community to recover economically and medically.

“The community’s emergency economic situation is regrettable,” said Fraser-Howze, “and it’s going to be worse for a long time. But we are a community of survivors: we went through slavery and Jim Crow. We find out how to stay alive. I believe and have faith that our community will return. “


Swanson reported from Washington. Morrison, who reported from New York, and Stafford, who reported from Detroit, are members of the AP Race and Ethnicity team.


The AP-NORC survey of 1,434 adults was conducted from February 25 to March 1 using a sample drawn from the NORC probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the US population. for all respondents it is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.


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