Millions of "financially vulnerable" Americans have become even more vulnerable during COVID-19, with lower-income households being more likely to see a decline in their financial prosperity, according to new data released Thursday.
A full half of financially vulnerable respondents – the equivalent of around 17.5 million people – said their financial situation had worsened since the pandemic began, found the poll published by the Financial Health Network and supported by Citi
Foundation, endowment. This compares to 19% of people who are financially okay and 6% who are financially sound.
The organization assesses financial health using eight indicators that fall under the categories of Spend, Save, Borrow, and Plan. "Financially vulnerable" means that someone is struggling with almost all or all aspects of their finances, while "financial hardship" means that they are struggling with some aspects of their financial life. “Financially healthy” individuals have healthy results across all eight indicators.
The latest results showed growing disparities: households earning less than $ 30,000 a year were more than twice as likely to report a decline in their personal finances during the pandemic as those making more than $ 60,000 that millions of jobs have been lost and entire industries have been shut down.
And people who lost their jobs during the pandemic were far more likely than people who didn't lose their jobs to have cut their savings (59% vs 23%) and credit card balances (55% vs 33%). or money borrowed from family or friends (29% versus 10%).
Meanwhile, many people found it difficult to meet basic health needs, including 10% of those who said a member of their household stopped or cut back on medication because of the cost, and 14% who said someone was in their household no medical care needed for the same reason. These numbers are an increase from an earlier poll last August.
"Foregoing medical care, including delayed screening, can lead to poorer health outcomes for many Americans than those directly created by COVID-19," the report's authors write.
Black (23%) and Latino (22%) respondents were more likely to have food concerns than their white (12%) and Asian-American (15%) counterparts during the pandemic. It was also more likely that they had gone to a grocery bank, worried about being evicted within the next three months, and raised concerns about renting or their mortgage.
The nationally representative survey of more than 4,400 people from January 11-18 was conducted among participants in the University of Southern California's ongoing Understanding America study.
These results underscore "the financial cliff of households at risk," said Jennifer Tescher, president and CEO of the Financial Health Network, in a statement. "Without additional incentives and relief efforts, inequality will only persist, especially for lower-income Americans and people of skin color," she said.
The $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package proposed by President Biden would include incentive controls, aid to state and local governments, expanding programs to support pandemic-related unemployment, and help reopening Schools include. The House of Representatives was due to vote on the bill on Friday.