Financial/Health Impact of Pandemic on Households

Sept. 11, 2020

A new survey by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds nearly half the households in the U.S. – 46% – report facing serious financial problems during the pandemic in the four largest U.S. cities, including Chicago, and among Latino and Black households. Chicago-specific findings include: 
•    More than one in three (35%) Chicago households report using up all or most of their savings; nearly three in ten (28%) report serious problems paying their credit card bills, loans, or other debt; one in four (25%) report serious problems paying their mortgage or rent; and more than one in five (23%) report serious problems paying for their utilities;

  • Majorities of Black (69%) and Latino (63%) households in Chicago report having serious financial problems, as well as a majority of households with annual incomes below $100,000 (59%);
  • About half of Chicago households (51%) report having lost their jobs, been furloughed, or had wages or hours reduced since the start of the coronavirus outbreak; and
  • More than one in five Chicago households (23%) report someone in their household has been unable to get medical care for a serious problem when they needed it during the coronavirus outbreak, and a majority of these households (55%) report negative health consequences as a result.

The five-part polling series was conducted among more than 3,400 U.S. adults in July – August 2020 to examine the most serious health and financial problems facing households across America prior to the expiration of federal coronavirus support programs.