Five new reports detail the coronavirus's impact on U.S. households, including in rural areas. NPR, Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation collaborated on the project, which gathered data through interviews with more than 3,400 adults across the nation (543 were rural).
The first report details the pandemic's impact on households in major cities, the second examines its impact on households by race and ethnicity, and the third focuses on the general impact to U.S. households. The fourth and fifth reports have not been released yet. The fourth will focus on households with children and the fifth will focus solely on rural households.
Though none of the first three reports focus on rural households, the third report has some interesting data on rural households. Among its findings:
- 42% report facing serious financial problems during the pandemic.
- 31% say they've used up all or most of their savings.
- 21% report serious problems paying credit cards, loans or other debt.
- 10% report not having any household savings prior to the pandemic.
- 43% say that at least one adult in the household has lost their job, lost their business, been furloughed, or had their wages or hours reduced.
- Among rural households with job or wage losses during the pandemic, 66% report facing serious financial problems.
- 34% report having either no high-speed internet connection at home or problems with their internet connection that interfere with their ability to do their jobs or schoolwork.
- 24% say that someone in their household has been unable to get medical care for a serious problem when they needed it during the pandemic, and 56% of those respondents who were unable to get care report negative health consequences as a result.