With the holiday season upon us and federal unemployment benefits for more than 12 million jobless workers expiring the day after Christmas, a growing number of households are under severe financial strain, Census data released this week show. These data underscore the urgent need for policymakers to extend those benefits and other key CARES Act relief programs, which have helped millions of families stay afloat during the pandemic.
The new data, from Census’ Household Pulse Survey for November 25 to December 7, show:
Moreover, 42 million adults say their household no longer used “regular income sources like those received before the pandemic” to meet their spending needs in the last seven days and resorted to one or more of the following short-term coping strategies: spending savings, selling assets, or borrowing from friends and family, according to analysis of more detailed Census data also released this week (collected November 11 to 23). The situation for this group is dire.
Another 36 million adults report that while they still have income from their pre-pandemic sources, they also relied on these coping strategies to meet their spending needs. Some of these households might have been financially precarious even before the pandemic; others might have lost part of their earnings or other income due to the economic fallout. Data on this group show:
In sharp contrast, among the 115 million adults who could rely on regular income sources instead of coping strategies:
Our updated tracker features new Pulse data (collected November 25 to December 7) showing the pandemic’s ongoing impact:
And detailed Pulse data for November 11-23 show: