by Simone Sylvan | bloomberg
For many Americans, the coronavirus lockdown – with nowhere to go and nothing to do – was a time to save. But for nearly 20% of American households, the pandemic wiped out their entire financial cushion, a survey released Tuesday found.
Surveys by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health show that the share of respondents who said they’ve lost all of their savings reaches 30% for those who make less than $50,000 a year. has gone. Black and Latino families were also badly affected. Researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of 3,616 American adults aged 18 or older.
Avenel Joseph, vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said many people dipped into their savings to cover child or health care expenses. “When a crisis strikes, or anything out of the ordinary happens — your child is sick, for example — you’re sacrificing wages,” she said. Nearly two-thirds of households earning less than $50,000 a year said they had trouble paying rent, medical care and food.
Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they had received financial assistance from the government in the past few months. But 44% said those programs only helped “a little bit.”
“We always knew there was going to be an uneventful recovery,” Joseph said. “There were always holes in the safety net, and the pandemic just widened those holes.” MPs in Congress are currently debating how much to spend on raising the safety net going forward.
“The Congress has a tremendous opportunity to build a more equitable future for this country. It is not about depositing bank accounts,” Joseph said. “The failure will throw millions of families back into poverty who were pulled out of it because of any temporary aid.”