Sarah Miller

COVID-19: The Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on Low-Income Individuals and Families

Research Project Description

Over the past several weeks, the coronavirus epidemic has disrupted almost all areas of life and economic activity in the United States. These disruptions are likely to disproportionately harm low-income families, who may already be in a precarious financial situation with little precautionary savings or alternative means of support. It may also be more difficult for such families to comply with public health requests (e.g. to work from home or to 'socially distance?), they may be disproportionately likely to lose their job or see their hours drastically reduced, and they may have less access to necessary health care. Combined, these negative effects may substantially reduce the financial, economic, social, mental, and physical well-being of such disadvantaged individuals.

Understanding how the coronavirus crisis affects vulnerable individuals and families is of immediate policy concern for both state and federal governments as they design and implement relief packages for those affected. However, it may take months or even years to observe the effects of the coronavirus crisis in large, nationally representative surveys such as the National Health Interview Survey or the American Community Survey. Phone and internet surveys can provide more rapid statistics on respondents, but may lack information on respondents? characteristics prior to the crisis (such as their occupation, mental health, food security, savings, or experiences with domestic violence). Finally, no readily available data source can closely track time use and expenditures in real time.

Russell Sage Foundation

Funding Period: 5/1/2020 to 4/30/2021

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