Today's Article
The pandemic's
economic fallout has
been harder on
Americans, according
to a Pew Research
Center study.
The American Spark
Economic Fallout From Covid-19 Hits Lower-Income Americans

By Cliff Montgomery - Dec. 31st, 2020

Covid-19, also known as the coronavirus, has been hard on all of us. But the pandemic’s economic fallout has
been harder on lower-income Americans,
according to a Pew Research Center study released in September.

The Pew Center “conducted this study to understand Americans’ assessments of their personal financial
situation ... caused by the coronavirus outbreak,” according to the report.

Pew “surveyed 13,200 U.S. adults in August 2020” to determine the continuing economic effects of the

“Everyone who took part is a member of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP),” declared the
study, “an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses.”

“The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan
affiliation, education and other categories,” added the Pew report.

A note on Pew’s terminology: For some reason, Pew has decided that “references to college graduates or
people with a college degree [should only] comprise those with a bachelor’s degree or more,” while the phrase
‘some college’ was used to include “those with an associate degree and those who attended college but did
not obtain a degree,” according to the study.

Also, the term ‘middle income’ is defined by Pew “as two-thirds to double the median annual family income for
panelists on the American Trends Panel,” while “ ‘lower income’ falls below that range; ‘upper income’ falls
above it,” declared the report.

So what did Pew discover?

A “Pew Research Center survey finds that, overall, one-in-four adults have had trouble paying their bills since
the coronavirus outbreak started,” while “a third have dipped into savings or retirement accounts to make ends
meet,” the study revealed.  

Not only that, but “about one-in-six have borrowed money from friends or family or gotten food from a food
bank,” added the Pew report.

“These types of experiences continue to be more common among adults with lower incomes, those without a
college degree and Black and Hispanic Americans,” the Pew study stated frankly.

“Among lower-income adults, 46% say they have had trouble paying their bills since the pandemic started,”
the study continued, “and roughly one third (32%) say it’s been hard for them to make rent or mortgage

“About one-in-five or fewer middle-income adults have faced these challenges, and the shares are
substantially smaller for those in the upper-income tier,” Pew declared.

It’s when the study looks harder into the data that the economic disparities exposed by the virus fallout
become crystal clear.

“Lower-income adults continue to be the most affected by coronavirus-related job loss or pay cuts,” said the
Pew study. “Some 47% of those with lower incomes say they or someone in their household has had these
experiences,” added the report, “compared with 42% of those with middle incomes and 32% of upper-income

“These experiences also vary by age,” declared the Pew study.  The analysis revealed that “adults younger
than 30 [are] more likely” to state that “they or someone else in their household has been laid off or taken a
pay cut because of the outbreak.” The Pew report added that “54% of adults ages 18 to 29 say their
household has had one or both of these experiences,” while “48% of those ages 30 to 49” acknowledged
such problems.

Those numbers fell to “40% [for] those 50 to 64,” and revealed a relatively mild “21% of adults ages 65 and
older” as having such financial issues, according to the study.

The Pew study also made clear that race has been a factor in economic hardship during the virus.

“Among Hispanic Americans, 53% say they or someone else in their household have either been laid off or
taken a pay cut” due to the economic fallout from Covid-19. Asian Americans also have been hard-hit, with
47% saying that “they or someone else in their household has been laid off or taken a pay cut because of the
outbreak,” according to Pew.

These percentages are “larger than the shares of White (38%) and Black (43%) adults who say the same,”
declared the report.

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