Poll: Financial distress worsens for Americans during delta surge : Shots

Americans have fallen way behind.

The rent’s overdue and evictions are looming. Two-thirds of parents say their kids have fallen behind in school. And one in five households say someone in the home has been unable to get medical care for a serious condition.

These are some of the main takeaways from a new national poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Despite billions of dollars in relief money from federal and state governments, “what we have here is a lot of people who are still one step from drowning financially,” says Robert Blendon, emeritus professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard Chan School.

Thirty-eight percent of households across the nation report facing serious financial problems in the past few months. Among Latino, Black and Native American households, more than 50% had serious financial problems, while 29% of white households did. This disparity is echoed in many other poll findings, with the minority families bearing a disproportionate share of the pandemics’ socio-economic impact.

Brittany Mitchell’s family is among those that are struggling. She lives in Gaston, S.C. and she’s a full-time cake decorator at the local Food Lion grocery store — her husband is a butcher. They were weathering the pandemic well enough, until her husband lost his job.

“There was a good two months where we really couldn’t pay rent, we couldn’t pay electric, we couldn’t pay for our internet,” she says. “We were basically borrowing from friends and family members just to make ends meet.”

Mitchell was able to enroll in rental assistance, and she says her landlord was very understanding. Her husband got a new job, but now they’re behind on utility and car payments.

“We’re still struggling real hard just to get through,” she says.

A sharp income divide

The poll showed a sharp income divide, with 59% of those with annual incomes below $50,000 reporting serious financial problems in the past few months, compared with 18% of households with annual incomes of $50,000 or more.

All this, despite the fact that around two-thirds of households report that they have received financial assistance from the government in the past few months during the delta variant surge.

It appears that the funding from COVID-19 relief bills, Blendon says, “did not provide a floor to protect people who are of moderate and low incomes.”

Add

Read More.. Read More