More than three in ten households in our country’s four largest cities had to empty their savings just to survive the pandemic and lockdown. This is the economic devastation of the virus and the subsequent policy decisions.
Researchers at NPR, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard Chan School of Public Health examined the most serious health and financial problems facing households in these major cities. Millions of families were already living paycheck to paycheck before the coronavirus. It’s not surprising that such an economic crisis depleted their savings just to survive.
“Half or more households in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston reported facing serious financial problems during the coronavirus outbreak, with issues ranging from depleting their savings to serious problems paying rent.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, six in ten New York City households with children (60%) reported serious problems caring for their children. This included one in three (33%) that faced difficulty keeping their children’s education going.
Minority households made up a significant number of those who were financially devastated by the pandemic and lockdown. If these cities and households are to recover, then additional federal assistance will need to help small businesses and minority-run businesses get back on a sound financial footing. That will require congressional approval during this contentious election year. And President Trump seems less willing to send money to cities he contends are mismanaged by Democrats.
This latest survey illustrates the extent of the economic hardship to many households in our major cities and reveals the economic devastation of the lockdowns.