Racial, ethnic minorities experience disproportionate economic impacts of COVID-19

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The economic impacts of COVID-19 vary significantly based on race and ethnicity, according to a new statewide vaccine poll conducted for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management by the Research Institute for Social Equity at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

While the majority of adults in Virginia reported that no one in their household experienced personal financial hardship in the past three months due to the pandemic, African Americans (30 percent) were twice as likely to report having a member of their household lose a job, be placed on furlough, or have their work pay or hours reduced compared to white (15 percent) respondents.

Asian and Hispanic respondents reported these events almost as frequently as African Americans (26 percent and 23 percent respectively.

“The consistent differences found in communities of color show a factual divide. There is a need to improve upon the impact of race and fairness in government at the state and local levels. This poll shows how race and its relativity to education, health and employment to government needs to be addressed on a continuing basis,” former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder said.

Households with income under $50,000 were most likely to have a member experiencing either job or pay loss as a result of COVID-19. Almost one-third of these households reported this experience (30 percent) versus 11 percent of households making $50,000 to $100,000, and 17 percent of households making $100,000 or more per year.

Respondents who indicated problems paying for food were most likely to live in south central (10 percent) or western (8 percent) parts of the state. They were also most likely to be African American (15 percent), Hispanic (11 percent) or Asian (10 percent).


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press