Microblog #121: COVID-19 Worsens Racial Disparities

Experts worry that the pandemic will widen racial homeownership and wealth gaps

322 Words

In recent months, journalists and researchers have worried that the COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate the already wide racial wealth gaps in America. Housing security, whether renting or owning, plays a key role in maintaining financial stability and building wealth. But now, months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the housing situation of many Black and Latin American households is becoming even more tenuous.

To better understand the pandemic’s impacts on the population, the Census Bureau began its weekly Household Pulse Survey (HPS) in April. Now in its 12th week, the survey asks individuals about their employment status, health, and housing, among other areas as a way to gauge how households are handling the pandemic. 

The pandemic hits Black and Latin American housing stability harder.

Recent Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University and Urban Institute’s analyses of this survey data found that Black and Latin American households were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic in terms of their housing stability. The Urban Institute found that 25% of Black and Latin American renters missed rent in May, compared to 14% of their white and Asian counterparts. 

Furthermore, Black and Latin American renters expressed lower confidence in their ability to pay rent in June. Twenty-eight percent of Black homeowners with a mortgage missed or deferred mortgage payments in May, while only 9% of white homeowners stated they missed or deferred mortgage payments. 

A Pew Research Center report in April highlighted the income loss disparities that have most impacted Black and Latin American households. The HPS further substantiates their study, as Harvard JCHS finds that both Black and Latin American renter and homeowner households were more likely to lose income as a result of the pandemic.

Many have already pointed to how the pandemic is hurting people of color the hardest in terms of health outcomes, but the pandemic continues to place exceptional burdens on the housing stability of our Black and Latin American neighbors.

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