More than 34 million U.S. adults live in households that find it very difficult to pay for their usual expenses, according to government data that offer the latest evidence of how low-income and minority Americans are facing intense economic insecurity as the pandemic wears on.
Households with about 31% of Americans 18 and over said covering usual expenses had been “somewhat” or “very” difficult in the last seven days, according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey conducted from Sept. 30 to Oct. 12. That was a slight increase from responses collected during the Sept. 16-28 period.
As stimulus negotiations dragged on in Washington, many minority households faced mounting economic insecurity.
The share of Black, Hispanic and Latino Americans who said they sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat was close to 15%, more than double the rates for White and Asian respondents, while one-third had little or no confidence they could pay next month’s rent.
The newest signs of suffering for millions of Americans came as negotiations over providing an additional coronavirus stimulus package wore on and appeared less likely to be passed by both chambers of Congress before the Nov. 3 election.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve officials have increasingly called for new fiscal support for the economy. “The recovery remains highly uncertain and highly uneven,” Fed Governor Lael Brainard said in a speech Wednesday.
The Census survey also found that about 27% of prime-age Americans, or those age 25 to 54, expected someone in their household would lose employment income in the next four weeks, little changed compared with the prior survey.
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