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Pandemic-Related Economic Challenges Disproportionately Impacted Minority Households


Pandemic-Related Economic Challenges Disproportionately Impacted Minority Households

August 9, 2021
Photo: thanksforbuying | stock.adobe.com

A survey of 20,000 adults across 20 major metro areas nationwide found Black, Latino, lower-income, and renter households were more likely to have experienced pandemic-related housing and economic challenges. Zillow conducted the survey in partnership with the National Fair Housing Alliance, and also found these demographics were less likely to report feeling knowledgeable about situations during the homebuying process. Zillow notes that these findings have the potential to threaten progress in closing the racial wealth gap. The survey found 27% of households surveyed reported losing income due to the pandemic, with 14% of the share being Latino households, 16% Black, compared to 12% white.

Latinx (20%) and Black (16%) households were more likely than white ones (12%) to report a job loss in their household. Renters were also more likely to report a loss of income (32%) and/or job loss (19%) than homeowners (23% and 10% respectively).

Given that renters were more likely to report job and/or income loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it makes sense that renters were also more likely to say they encountered difficulty keeping up with their rent payments (16%) than homeowners with their mortgage payments (7%). Black and Latinx households were more likely to say that they were having difficulty keeping up with mortgage/rent payments (13% and 15% respectively, compared with 10% of white households). The case was similar for the share of households that reported having mortgage forbearance or a reduced rent agreement: Black (9%) and Latinx (10%) households were about twice as likely as white ones (4%) to report such a situation.

Fear of Foreclosure or Eviction
Among the metro areas sampled, approximately one in ten (11%) said their household was having difficulty keeping up with mortgage or rent payments and a similar 12% said they were afraid that they may lose their home due to foreclosure or eviction. This number was higher for renters (16%), lower-income households (18% for households making less than $50,000), Latinx (22%) and Black (16%) households. Households in the Las Vegas (17%), Miami (17%), Los Angeles (16%) and San Francisco (15%) metro areas were most likely to express such fears of foreclosure or eviction.

Learning from Home
Among households with children, 77% reported that their children were being educated at home because of the pandemic. And while the share of households receiving education at home was similar among renters, homeowners, and by race and ethnicity, renters and households of color were less likely to be equipped with certain resources like personal computers, internet access, and tutors. Almost three in five households (58%) whose children were learning remotely said their children have their own computers to do school work.

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