The coronavirus outbreak has changed life for everyone in the United States, but for African Americans and Hispanics, the virus has forced them to risk life for money.
According to a series of Pew Research Center surveys, the financial and health aftermath of the virus has hit both races significantly. The surveys revealed significant racial and ethnic differences in experiences dealing with the illness or death of loved ones, as well as job loss and pay cuts.
Most of these differences are the result of decades of underlying economic, geographic, and health circumstances.
Here are some of the main points the surveys show.
Job and wage losses hit Hispanic residents hardest
Nearly 61% of Hispanic Americans and 44% of African Americans said in April that they or someone in their household experienced a job or wage loss due to the coronavirus pandemic. Just 38% of white adults have made the same claim.
In a survey taken a month earlier, 49% of Hispanics, 36% of blacks, and 29% of whites said they or someone in their home experienced a job or wage loss.
These numbers lead to the next key finding.
Most African Americans and Hispanics don’t have financial reserves
In the April survey, 73% of African Americans and 70% of Hispanic Americans said they did not have emergency funds to cover three months of expenses. Almost half of white adults (47%) said the same.
The vast majority of black and Hispanic adults without financial reserves added they would not be able to cover their expenses for three months by borrowing money, using savings, or selling assets.
As a result, many African and Hispanic Americans have had to take jobs as essential workers to stay afloat financially. This forces citizens to gamble their lives to keep food on the table and pay their bills.
The downturn has made it harder to pay monthly bills
Forty-eight percent of African Americans and 44% of Hispanic Americans say they “cannot pay some bills or can only make partial payments on some of them this month,” according to the April survey; 26% of white adults have said the same.
Additionally, the survey said 46% of African Americans and 28% of Hispanic Americans say they had trouble paying bills in a typical month before the pandemic.
Significant differences in personal experiences with coronavirus
Twenty-seven percent of African Americans said they personally knew someone who has been hospitalized or died as a result of having coronavirus, roughly double the shares who said this among Hispanic or white adults (13% each).
Hispanic Americans however, expressed greater concern than other groups about contracting coronavirus and requiring hospitalization. Hispanics were also more likely than blacks or whites to be worried that they might unknowingly spread the virus to others and two-thirds of all adults said they were at least somewhat concerned about doing spreading the virus.
Hispanic and African Americans more likely to accept cellphone tracking
Sixty-six percent of Hispanic Americans and 56% of African Americans said in April that it’s at least somewhat acceptable for the government to use people’s cellphones to track the location of those who have tested positive for the coronavirus. About half of white Americans (47%) said the same.
Hispanic (55%) and African (45%) Americans were also more likely than white adults (31%) to say it is very or somewhat acceptable for the government to track the location of people’s cellphones to ensure people are complying with social distancing orders and limiting social contact during the outbreak.
The findings come while countries such as South Korea, have begun to monitor and track the coronavirus through cellphones.
Despite the support for cellphone tracking in this context, 62% of blacks and 47% of Hispanics believe cellphone tracking will not make much of a difference in limiting the spread of coronavirus.
Both African and Hispanic Americans have had to deal with trying to stay afloat economically by becoming essential workers, while at the same time trying to not be infected.