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Logo for Special Series: COVID Hardship Watch

Tracking the COVID-19 Recession’s Effects on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships

UPDATED
September 18, 2020
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The unemployment rate is very high and millions report that their households did not get enough to eat or that they are behind in paying the rent. We are able to track the extent of this hardship thanks to nearly real-time data from several sources on the unfolding economic crisis.

The impacts of the pandemic and the economic fallout have been widespread, but are particularly prevalent among Black, Latino,[1] Indigenous, and immigrant households. These disproportionate impacts reflect harsh, longstanding inequities — often stemming from structural racism — in education, employment, housing, and health care that the current crisis is exacerbating.

Relief measures have mitigated hardship, but there are significant gaps — including, for example, leaving out the poorest households from any increase in SNAP benefits — and implementation challenges that have delayed aid to some households. The measures are also temporary.

The data below, which we will update periodically, drive home the need for substantial, continued relief measures. The extent and severity of continued hardships like hunger, eviction, and homelessness will depend on whether such relief is robust and reaches those in need, as well as the trajectory of the pandemic and the pace of economic recovery. The implications for children in particular are significant: households with children face especially high hardship rates, which research has shown can have serious effects on children’s long-term health and financial security.

Emerging Data Show High Rates of Hardship

Figure 1
Millions of Children in Households Struggling to Afford the Basics

The Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, launched in April, has provided nearly real-time weekly data on how the unprecedented health and economic crisis is affecting the nation. Data from this and other sources, such as unemployment data from Census’ Current Population Survey and the Department of Labor, show that tens of millions of people are out of work and struggling to afford adequate food and pay the rent. The impacts on children are large. (See figures 1 and 2. For more on our methodology and data by state, see tables 1-6 below.)

Difficulty Getting Enough Food

Data from several sources show a dramatic increase in the number of households struggling to put enough food on the table. About 29 million adults — 12.1 percent of all adults in the country — reported that their household sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat in the last seven days, according to the Household Pulse Survey for the week ending July 21. The rates were more than twice as high for Black and Latino respondents (21 percent for both groups) as for white respondents (8 percent; see Figure 2). And 11 to 20 percent of adults with children reported that their children sometimes or often didn’t eat enough in the last seven days because they couldn’t afford it, well above the pre-pandemic figure. This translates into an estimated 9 to 17 million children who live in a household in which the children were not eating enough because the household couldn’t afford it.

Figure 2
Black and Latino Households Likelier to Experience Food Insufficiency During Pandemic

Inability to Pay Rent or Mortgage

An estimated 14.8 million adults who live in rental housing — 1 in 5 adult renters — were behind on rent for the week ending July 21. Here, too, the rates were much higher for Black (31 percent) and Latino (28 percent) renters than white (15 percent) renters.

Figure 3
1 in 5 Renters Behind on Rent During Pandemic, With Black and Latino Renters Facing Greatest Hardship

In addition, renters who are parents or otherwise live with children are nearly twice as likely to be behind on rent compared to adults not living with anyone under age 18. (See Figure 4.) Some 8 million children lived in a household that was behind on rent for the week ending July 21.

Figure 4
Households With Children Nearly Twice as Likely to Be Behind on Rent

While households that don’t rent their homes but have mortgage payments typically have higher incomes than renters, these households can also face difficulties, especially if they have lost their jobs or seen their incomes fall significantly. The Pulse data show that 13 million adults say they are behind in their mortgage payments as well.

Changes in Household Pulse Survey, Response Rates Inhibit Data Comparison

On September 9, Census posted initial data from the second phase of its Household Pulse Survey. The new data are generally not comparable to data from the survey’s first phase, some of which are highlighted in this report, due to changes in the questionnaire for phase two, some of which led many more people to decline to answer various questions.

The lower response rates for most questions concerning hardship may partly reflect the fact that Census added many new questions to the survey in response to user requests, doubling the average time needed to complete it from 11 to 20 minutes. As a result, many fewer people completed the hardship questions, especially those toward the end of the survey.

Further, Census changed the question about housing hardships, making it even less comparable to earlier Pulse housing data.

Because we lack comparable data over time and detailed data files from Census, we cannot update the state tables in this report, which require multiple weeks of comparable data to ensure reliability of the estimates.

However, available data show that levels of food hardship remain far higher than before the pandemic, as we’ve explained.

Unemployment Is High, With Job Losses Concentrated in Low-Paid Industries

The unemployment rate jumped in April to a level not seen since the 1930s — and still stood at 8.4 percent in August. Some 13.0 percent of Black workers and 10.5 percent of Latino workers were unemployed in July, compared to 7.3 percent of white workers. Unemployment has also risen faster among workers who were born outside the United States (this includes individuals who are now U.S. citizens) than U.S.-born workers. Changes in unemployment going forward will likely heavily depend on both how well the nation does in controlling the spread of the virus and the steps policymakers take to provide effective stimulus that boosts overall demand for goods and services.

The majority of jobs lost in the crisis have been in industries that pay low average wages, with the lowest-paying industries accounting for 30 percent of all jobs but 51 percent of the jobs lost from February to July, the latest month of Labor Department employment data. Jobs in low-paying industries were down almost twice as much between February and July 2020 (12.9 percent) as jobs in medium-wage industries (7.4 percent) and three times as much as in high-wage industries (4.5 percent).

Figure 5
Job Losses Largest in Industries That PayLow Wages

Millions of Children Facing Hardship

Households with children are more likely to have trouble affording food or paying the rent or mortgage than households without children. Based on five weeks of Census Bureau Pulse Survey data collected from June 18 to July 21, we estimate that:

  • Approximately 19 million children, or 1 in 4 children, live in a household that isn’t getting enough to eat, is behind on rent or mortgage payments, or both.
  • These levels of hardship are substantially higher among Black and Latino children, reflecting longstanding inequities that the current crisis has exacerbated.
Figure 6
Children Facing Significant Hardship, With Wide Racial and Ethnic Gaps

Children in renter households, which tend to have lower incomes and less savings, are facing particularly high rates of hardship. An estimated 2 in 5 children who live in rental housing live in a household that isn’t getting enough to eat or is behind on rent. This represents over 10 million children.

Figure 7
Millions of Children in Renter Households Face Food or Housing Hardship, or Both

Hardship Trending Upward

The latest hardship data predate the expiration of $600 weekly supplemental Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation on July 31, but key measures of hardship were already rising in mid-July. (See Figure 8.) This could happen for several reasons. People may have exhausted the stimulus payments they received or any savings they were using to replace lost income, and the impact of higher food prices may be mounting. Continued delays in some workers’ unemployment benefits may be increasing hardship as well.

Figure 8
Rising Signs of Food and Housing Hardship

Future hardship trends will depend on several factors, including the incidence of COVID-19, whether the job market rebounds, and the relief measures policymakers put or keep in place.

State-by-State Food, Housing, and Employment Hardship Data

Data by state show that hardship is widespread. The following charts provide state-level data on:

  • the share of adults reporting that their household didn’t have enough to eat (Table 1);
  • the share of adults saying children in their household were not eating enough because they couldn’t afford enough (Table 1);
  • the increase in SNAP caseloads (Table 2);
  • the share of adults behind on rent (Table 3);
  • the number of children in households that aren’t getting enough to eat and/or are behind in the rent or mortgage (Table 4);
  • the number of children in renter households that aren’t getting enough to eat and/or are behind in the rent (Table 5); and
  • the three-month moving average unemployment rate and recent jobless claim data (Table 6).

For data from the Pulse survey — on those not getting enough to eat, being behind on rent, and the number of children facing various hardships — we average data from multiple weeks of the survey to improve accuracy. Information on the number of weeks included is available in each table’s notes.

Differences in Pulse hardship rates between states may reflect sampling error, so we suggest not drawing strong conclusions from modest differences between states. The data do show, however, that high levels of food need are widespread across the country.

Difficulty Getting Enough Food

The Pulse survey asks adult respondents if their household did not have enough to eat and if children in the household were not eating enough because the household couldn’t afford it.

TABLE 1
High Shares of Households Report Difficulty Getting Enough Food
Among adults; data collected July 9 to July 21
How to read this table: In the United States, over 27 million adults reported that their household sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat in the last seven days. This represents 11 percent of all adults in the country. Over 18 million adults living with children reported that “the children were not eating enough because we just couldn’t afford enough food.” This represents 20 percent of adults living with children.
  Adults Reporting That Household Didn’t Have Enough to Eat Adults Reporting That Children in Household Weren’t Eating Enough Because Couldn’t Afford Enough
State Number As a Percent of Adults Number As a Percent of Adults Living with Children
United States 27,671,000 11% 18,138,000 20%
Alabama 469,000 13% 385,000 25%
Alaska 54,000 10% 35,000 19%
Arizona 696,000 13% 517,000 25%
Arkansas 299,000 14% 184,000 21%
California 3,787,000 13% 2,747,000 24%
Colorado 354,000 8% 191,000 12%
Connecticut 229,000 9% 162,000 17%
Delaware 79,000 11% 46,000 17%
District of Columbia 63,000 12% 45,000 25%
Florida 1,922,000 11% 1,403,000 24%
Georgia 854,000 11% 506,000 15%
Hawai’i 109,000 10% 66,000 16%
Idaho 115,000 9% 85,000 15%
Illinois 975,000 10% 868,000 24%
Indiana 497,000 10% 327,000 17%
Iowa 150,000 6% 84,000 10%
Kansas 176,000 8% 112,000 14%
Kentucky 287,000 9% 182,000 15%
Louisiana 578,000 17% 390,000 28%
Maine 63,000 6% 37,000 13%
Maryland 463,000 10% 384,000 21%
Massachusetts 406,000 8% 219,000 12%
Michigan 709,000 10% 435,000 16%
Minnesota 300,000 7% 198,000 13%
Mississippi 339,000 16% 223,000 24%
Missouri 462,000 10% 216,000 13%
Montana 103,000 13% 47,000 18%
Nebraska 130,000 9% 73,000 14%
Nevada 340,000 14% 237,000 26%
New Hampshire 51,000 5% 54,000 15%
New Jersey 463,000 7% 373,000 14%
New Mexico 226,000 15% 179,000 27%
New York 1,936,000 14% 1,052,000 20%
North Carolina 952,000 12% 460,000 17%
North Dakota 62,000 11% 20,000 10%
Ohio 802,000 9% 527,000 16%
Oklahoma 351,000 12% 198,000 17%
Oregon 302,000 9% 160,000 15%
Pennsylvania 1,003,000 11% 668,000 20%
Rhode Island 106,000 13% 58,000 21%
South Carolina 502,000 13% 251,000 19%
South Dakota 55,000 9% 35,000 15%
Tennessee 654,000 13% 355,000 17%
Texas 3,396,000 16% 2,305,000 25%
Utah 161,000 7% 124,000 12%
Vermont 33,000 7% 16,000 11%
Virginia 627,000 10% 377,000 18%
Washington 460,000 8% 256,000 14%
West Virginia 139,000 10% 84,000 17%
Wisconsin 349,000 8% 158,000 11%
Wyoming 33,000 8% 24,000 15%

Note: Figures are a two-week average. As recommended by the Census Bureau, percentages exclude persons not replying to the question.

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey public use files for survey weeks 11 - 12, https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/household-pulse-survey/datasets.html.

Table 2 shows the increase in SNAP caseloads based on recent data available for each state through June compared to February 2020, the last month before the economic effects of the pandemic hit. Available data suggest that 6-7 million more people have applied and been approved for benefits since February, a 17 percent increase nationally. This rise is unprecedented: at the onset of the Great Recession it took 17 months to add this number of people to SNAP. While SNAP participation in most states is still substantially lower than during the peak months after the Great Recession, the increase so far due to COVID-19 has been rapid.

The differences in the increase in caseloads across states in part reflect differences in job losses across the months of the pandemic and the degree to which businesses were operating. They also may reflect how quickly states adapted their SNAP application processes to almost entirely remote communications (i.e., online and telephone) and how quickly they processed applications for unemployment insurance (UI). The Families First Act, the first large-scale relief bill enacted in March, allowed the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide states substantial flexibility in program operations to help them manage their workloads to focus on processing new applications — flexibility that USDA is now ending.[2] The slower growth in June may reflect states taking higher income from UI benefits into account (for households that were approved for UI in late April or May), in addition to increased earnings from the economy partially reopening in some places. But UI income is slated to fall substantially as a result of the expiration of the temporary $600-per-week federal UI supplement, which very likely will cause SNAP caseloads to rise further. SNAP caseloads also shrink when the economy is strong, as they did in the years leading up to the COVID-19-related downturn.

TABLE 2
The Number of SNAP Participants Increased Substantially in Almost All States
Preliminary, subject to change. From state- or USDA-reported data, as of August 11, 2020
State February 2020 April 2020 May 2020 June 2020 Percent change:
February to April February to May February to June
Alabama 705,000 740,000 755,000 756,000 5% 7% 7%
Alaska 81,000 86,000 88,000 88,000 6% 9% 10%
Arizona 801,000 867,000 915,000 902,000 8% 14% 13%
Arkansas 318,000 375,000 393,000   18% 24%  
California 4,031,000 4,451,000 4,689,000 4,802,000 10% 16% 19%
Colorado 431,000 507,000 524,000 539,000 18% 21% 25%
Connecticut 362,000 382,000 388,000 387,000 6% 7% 7%
Delaware* 116,000 126,000     9%    
District of Columbia* 109,000 118,000     9%    
Florida 2,684,000 3,212,000 3,661,000 3,816,000 20% 36% 42%
Georgia 1,278,000 1,603,000 1,707,000   25% 34%  
Guam* 41,000 52,000     28%    
Hawai’i 152,000 171,000 178,000 180,000 13% 17% 18%
Idaho 149,000 153,000 151,000 153,000 3% 2% 3%
Illinois 1,748,000 1,929,000 2,032,000   10% 16%  
Indiana 617,000 680,000 715,000 775,000 10% 16% 26%
Iowa 296,000 330,000 338,000 308,000 11% 14% 4%
Kansas 190,000 202,000 209,000 213,000 6% 10% 12%
Kentucky 482,000 593,000 624,000 653,000 23% 29% 35%
Louisiana 770,000 812,000 843,000 853,000 6% 10% 11%
Maine 165,000 176,000 180,000 179,000 7% 9% 8%
Maryland 591,000 690,000 782,000 845,000 17% 32% 43%
Massachusetts 757,000 882,000 911,000 912,000 17% 20% 21%
Michigan 1,176,000 1,499,000 1,528,000 1,344,000 27% 30% 14%
Minnesota 370,000 404,000 424,000   9% 14%  
Mississippi 424,000 457,000 479,000   8% 13%  
Missouri 657,000 752,000 766,000 773,000 14% 17% 18%
Montana 106,000 108,000 110,000 109,000 3% 4% 4%
Nebraska* 153,000 166,000     8%    
Nevada 412,000 497,000 512,000   21% 24%  
New Hampshire* 72,000 77,000     7%    
New Jersey 661,000 683,000 718,000   3% 9%  
New Mexico 445,000 481,000 492,000 493,000 8% 11% 11%
New York 2,560,000 2,683,000 2,749,000   5% 7%  
North Carolina 1,224,000 1,329,000 1,383,000 1,407,000 9% 13% 15%
North Dakota* 48,000 51,000     8%    
Ohio 1,326,000 1,632,000 1,610,000   23% 21%  
Oklahoma 576,000 598,000 608,000   4% 6%  
Oregon 586,000 670,000 691,000 706,000 14% 18% 20%
Pennsylvania 1,737,000 1,861,000 1,907,000 1,904,000 7% 10% 10%
Rhode Island* 146,000       N/A    
South Carolina 568,000 593,000 625,000 639,000 4% 10% 13%
South Dakota 78,000 79,000 79,000 78,000 1% 2% 0%
Tennessee 844,000 905,000 891,000 876,000 7% 6% 4%
Texas 3,284,000 3,708,000 3,899,000 3,932,000 13% 19% 20%
Utah 170,000 177,000 166,000 160,000 5% -2% -6%
Vermont* 68,000 72,000     7%    
Virginia 680,000 747,000 767,000 774,000 10% 13% 14%
Virgin Islands* 20,000 22,000     9%    
Washington 801,000 898,000 923,000   12% 15%  
West Virginiaa 282,000 307,000 299,000 295,000 9% 6%  
Wisconsin 598,000 687,000 697,000 689,000 15% 17% 15%
Wyoming* 26,000 27,000     4%    
Total these states 36,867,750*
(53 states/
territories)
41,300,000
(52)
42,400,000
(43)
30,500,000b
(32)
12% 17% 19%b
% U.S. participants in these states 100% 99.9% 98% 70%      
Extrapolated to U.S. 36,867,750 41,400,000 43,200,000 43,800,000b      

* Preliminary Department of Agriculture (USDA) data. All others are state-reported figures. Because for February we have combined data from different sources, the state February figures do not add to USDA’s February national total. Historically, the data states reported have differed only slightly from the USDA data, but for April 2020, the most recent month for which USDA has posted preliminary data, there appear to be data reporting issues in about one-fifth of the states.

a Estimated individuals receiving SNAP based on reported households.

b The figures for June 2020 should be viewed with caution as they rely on data for only 32 states with 70 percent of SNAP participants. The states that have not provided data for June had slightly lower growth in the number of SNAP participants through May, so the actual growth in June may be lower than represented here.

Sources: Compilation of state-reported number of SNAP participants. CBPP, “SNAP Online: A Review of State Government SNAP Websites,” April 23, 2020, https://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/snap-online-a-review-of-state-government-snap-websites, includes links to the data on each state’s website for the states that post them. We also have obtained data from a handful of states that do not post their monthly data. The U.S. total for February 2020 and the February and April 2020 figures for states that do not share more recent data are from the Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, “SNAP Data Tables,” FY16 through FY20 National View Summary, https://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap.

Behind on Rent

Table 3 shows the number of adults reporting that they are behind on rent by state.

TABLE 3
One-Fifth of Renters Are Behind on Rent
Among adults in rental housing; data collected July 9 to July 21
  Did Not Pay Last Month's Rent on Time or Deferred Payment
Number Percent
United States 14,341,000 21%
Alabama 302,000 36%
Alaska 23,000 18%
Arizona 243,000 17%
Arkansas 98,000 18%
California 1,812,000 16%
Colorado 141,000 12%
Connecticut 100,000 16%
Delaware 30,000 21%
District of Columbia 26,000 11%
Florida 924,000 21%
Georgia 414,000 20%
Hawai’i 45,000 14%
Idaho 59,000 17%
Illinois 673,000 27%
Indiana 242,000 21%
Iowa 88,000 18%
Kansas 92,000 17%
Kentucky 189,000 23%
Louisiana 247,000 26%
Maine 21,000 11%
Maryland 259,000 22%
Massachusetts 223,000 15%
Michigan 323,000 20%
Minnesota 105,000 11%
Mississippi 182,000 35%
Missouri 209,000 17%
Montana 33,000 16%
Nebraska 45,000 13%
Nevada 166,000 20%
New Hampshire 26,000 11%
New Jersey 384,000 21%
New Mexico 88,000 25%
New York 1,670,000 30%
North Carolina 518,000 27%
North Dakota 35,000 21%
Ohio 541,000 28%
Oklahoma 189,000 24%
Oregon 130,000 11%
Pennsylvania 381,000 18%
Rhode Island 40,000 20%
South Carolina 282,000 31%
South Dakota 39,000 28%
Tennessee 348,000 27%
Texas 1,529,000 24%
Utah 39,000 7%
Vermont 14,000 14%
Virginia 302,000 19%
Washington 248,000 14%
West Virginia 69,000 29%
Wisconsin 128,000 12%
Wyoming 22,000 26%

Note: Figures are a two-week average. As recommended by the Census Bureau, percentages exclude persons not replying to the question.

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey public use files for survey weeks 11 - 12, https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/household-pulse-survey/datasets.html.

Children Facing Hardships

Because the Pulse survey was not designed to provide precise counts of children (but rather to provide more timely data on adult well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic than most household surveys), these figures are approximations, especially in smaller states.

TABLE 4
Children in Households That Are Behind on Rent or Mortgage and/or Didn't Get Enough to Eat
Data collected June 18 to July 21
  Number Percent
United States 18,883,000 (plus or minus (±) 490,000) 28% (± 1)
Alabama 416,000 (± 55,000) 35% (± 3)
Alaska 37,000 (± 7,000) 23% (± 3)
Arizona 407,000 (± 53,000) 27% (± 3)
Arkansas 199,000 (± 27,000) 29% (± 3)
California 2,186,000 (± 157,000) 28% (± 2)
Colorado 230,000 (± 52,000) 19% (± 4)
Connecticut 156,000 (± 19,000) 25% (± 3)
Delaware 55,000 (± 8,000) 26% (± 3)
District of Columbia 39,000 (± 9,000) 34% (± 6)
Florida 1,257,000 (± 123,000) 31% (± 2)
Georgia 727,000 (± 90,000) 30% (± 3)
Hawai’i 80,000 (± 13,000) 30% (± 4)
Idaho 96,000 (± 15,000) 20% (± 3)
Illinois 817,000 (± 107,000) 32% (± 3)
Indiana 454,000 (± 78,000) 29% (± 4)
Iowa 106,000 (± 17,000) 16% (± 3)
Kansas 137,000 (± 22,000) 21% (± 3)
Kentucky 230,000 (± 24,000) 25% (± 3)
Louisiana 403,000 (± 65,000) 37% (± 4)
Maine 47,000 (± 10,000) 21% (± 4)
Maryland 419,000 (± 51,000) 32% (± 3)
Massachusetts 294,000 (± 53,000) 23% (± 3)
Michigan 471,000 (± 57,000) 23% (± 3)
Minnesota 239,000 (± 47,000) 20% (± 3)
Mississippi 292,000 (± 39,000) 38% (± 4)
Missouri 302,000 (± 39,000) 23% (± 3)
Montana 48,000 (± 9,000) 23% (± 4)
Nebraska 90,000 (± 18,000) 21% (± 3)
Nevada 211,000 (± 29,000) 31% (± 4)
New Hampshire 47,000 (± 8,000) 19% (± 3)
New Jersey 520,000 (± 77,000) 28% (± 3)
New Mexico 175,000 (± 31,000) 35% (± 5)
New York 1,120,000 (± 157,000) 31% (± 4)
North Carolina 606,000 (± 76,000) 30% (± 3)
North Dakota 35,000 (± 6,000) 22% (± 3)
Ohio 629,000 (± 95,000) 26% (± 3)
Oklahoma 252,000 (± 42,000) 27% (± 4)
Oregon 138,000 (± 23,000) 18% (± 3)
Pennsylvania 731,000 (± 89,000) 29% (± 3)
Rhode Island 60,000 (± 10,000) 31% (± 4)
South Carolina 315,000 (± 34,000) 26% (± 3)
South Dakota 55,000 (± 13,000) 27% (± 5)
Tennessee 456,000 (± 56,000) 30% (± 3)
Texas 2,058,000 (± 161,000) 30% (± 2)
Utah 138,000 (± 26,000) 16% (± 3)
Vermont 18,000 (± 3,000) 16% (± 3)
Virginia 399,000 (± 60,000) 24% (± 3)
Washington 250,000 (± 42,000) 18% (± 3)
West Virginia 106,000 (± 18,000) 29% (± 4)
Wisconsin 291,000 (± 45,000) 23% (± 3)
Wyoming 35,000 (± 7,000) 25% (± 4)

Note: Figures are a five-week average. Survey does not collect data on children directly; figures for children are approximations based on number of children in each household. As recommended by the Census Bureau, percentages exclude persons not replying to the question. For children in households that neither have a mortgage nor pay cash rent, such as those living in employer-provided housing, hardship is determined based only on whether these households had enough food. Margins of error reflect a 90 percent confidence level.

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey public use files for survey weeks 8 - 12, https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/household-pulse-survey/datasets.html.

TABLE 5
Children in Renter Households That Are Behind on Rent and/or Didn't Get Enough to Eat
Data collected June 18 to July 21
  Number Percent
United States 10,440,000 (plus or minus (±) 402,000) 41% (± 1)
Alabama 186,000 (± 32,000) 49% (± 7)
Alaska 18,000 (± 5,000) 35% (± 7)
Arizona 224,000 (± 35,000) 42% (± 5)
Arkansas 99,000 (± 18,000) 46% (± 6)
California 1,362,000 (± 144,000) 35% (± 3)
Colorado 85,000 (± 25,000) 28% (± 7)
Connecticut 83,000 (± 16,000) 41% (± 5)
Delaware 20,000 (± 4,000) 30% (± 8)
District of Columbia 31,000 (± 8,000) 50% (± 10)
Florida 641,000 (± 77,000) 40% (± 4)
Georgia 441,000 (± 89,000) 44% (± 6)
Hawai’i 45,000 (± 10,000) 34% (± 6)
Idaho 43,000 (± 12,000) 32% (± 8)
Illinois 450,000 (± 84,000) 49% (± 6)
Indiana 229,000 (± 60,000) 43% (± 9)
Iowa 60,000 (± 13,000) 39% (± 7)
Kansas 55,000 (± 14,000) 29% (± 5)
Kentucky 140,000 (± 25,000) 42% (± 7)
Louisiana 218,000 (± 58,000) 50% (± 7)
Maine 21,000 (± 8,000) 35% (± 11)
Maryland 286,000 (± 51,000) 51% (± 6)
Massachusetts 152,000 (± 50,000) 34% (± 8)
Michigan 242,000 (± 42,000) 39% (± 6)
Minnesota 106,000 (± 37,000) 38% (± 10)
Mississippi 166,000 (± 35,000) 56% (± 6)
Missouri 136,000 (± 25,000) 34% (± 6)
Montana 27,000 (± 8,000) 39% (± 9)
Nebraska 37,000 (± 8,000) 36% (± 6)
Nevada 131,000 (± 27,000) 41% (± 7)
New Hampshire 18,000 (± 6,000) 31% (± 8)
New Jersey 270,000 (± 56,000) 42% (± 6)
New Mexico 66,000 (± 16,000) 42% (± 6)
New York 779,000 (± 135,000) 45% (± 7)
North Carolina 343,000 (± 58,000) 45% (± 7)
North Dakota 16,000 (± 4,000) 34% (± 7)
Ohio 368,000 (± 81,000) 45% (± 7)
Oklahoma 123,000 (± 23,000) 41% (± 7)
Oregon 73,000 (± 17,000) 23% (± 5)
Pennsylvania 352,000 (± 56,000) 47% (± 6)
Rhode Island 35,000 (± 8,000) 52% (± 8)
South Carolina 157,000 (± 26,000) 46% (± 7)
South Dakota 33,000 (± 11,000) 56% (± 11)
Tennessee 259,000 (± 41,000) 48% (± 6)
Texas 1,210,000 (± 125,000) 46% (± 3)
Utah 48,000 (± 15,000) 26% (± 7)
Vermont 9,000 (± 3,000) 37% (± 10)
Virginia 172,000 (± 41,000) 33% (± 6)
Washington 144,000 (± 38,000) 28% (± 6)
West Virginia 49,000 (± 14,000) 45% (± 10)
Wisconsin 165,000 (± 36,000) 47% (± 7)
Wyoming 17,000 (± 6,000) 42% (± 10)

Note: Figures are a five-week average. Survey does not collect data on children directly; figures for children are approximations based on number of children in each household. As recommended by the Census Bureau, percentages exclude persons not replying to the question. Figures omit children in households that do not pay cash rent, such as those living in employer-provided housing. Margins of error reflect a 90 percent confidence level.

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey public use files for survey weeks 8 - 12, https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/household-pulse-survey/datasets.html.

High Unemployment

Table 6 provides state-by-state data on the unemployment rate over the June-August period and data on ongoing unemployment benefit claims.

Unemployment in most states has been highly elevated since April, as has the number of people claiming unemployment insurance benefits.

TABLE 6
Unemployment, Jobless Claims High Across the Country
States Unemployment rate (June-August average) Current jobless benefits claims for week ending August 29a
Alabama 7.0 165,000
Alaska 10.5 47,000
Arizona 8.9 550,000
Arkansas 7.5 146,000
California 13.3 9,327,000
Colorado 8.2 266,000
Connecticut 9.5 321,000
Delaware 10.7 40,000
District of Columbia 8.6 83,000
Florida 9.7 456,000
Georgia 6.9 788,000
Hawai’i 13.1 228,000
Idaho 5.0 34,000
Illinois 12.3 706,000
Indiana 8.5 389,000
Iowa 7.1 106,000
Kansas 7.2 236,000
Kentucky 5.5 169,000
Louisiana 8.8 387,000
Maine 7.8 69,000
Maryland 7.7 416,000
Massachusetts 15.1 915,000
Michigan 10.8 1,221,000
Minnesota 7.9 300,000
Mississippi 8.7 140,000
Missouri 7.2 198,000
Montana 6.4 86,000
Nebraska 4.8 51,000
Nevada 14.2 347,000
New Hampshire 7.9 63,000
New Jersey 14.0 853,000
New Mexico 10.8 133,000
New York 14.7 2,911,000
North Carolina 7.5 566,000
North Dakota 6.3 25,000
Ohio 9.6 739,000
Oklahoma 6.4 141,000
Oregon 9.9 278,000
Pennsylvania 12.0 1,378,000
Puerto Rico N.A.* 492,000
Rhode Island 12.2 118,000
South Carolina 7.9 241,000
South Dakota 6.1 14,000
Tennessee 9.3 377,000
Texas 7.7 1,333,000
Utah 4.6 55,000
Vermont 7.5 39,000
Virgin Islands 12.9** 5,000
Virginia 7.4 492,000
Washington 9.6 407,000
West Virginia 9.8 55,000
Wisconsin 7.3 223,000
Wyoming 7.1 13,000
U.S. 9.9 29,137,000

a Compiled from data for regular state UI benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. Including other smaller programs, 29,768,326 people were claiming benefits in that week.

* The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico forecasts in its recent Fiscal Plan that this is 33 percent.

** Rate is an average over the May-July period and not seasonally adjusted.

Source: Local Area Unemployment Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment for Virgin Islands from Virgin Islands Electronic Workforce System; Unemployment Weekly Claims Report, Department of Labor, September 17, 2020.

[1] Federal surveys generally ask respondents whether they are “of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.” This report uses the term “Latino.”

[2] “States Are Using Much-Needed Temporary Flexibility in SNAP to Respond to COVID-19 Challenges,” CBPP, updated August 6, 2020, https://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/most-states-are-using-new-flexibility-in-snap-to-respond-to-covid-19; “USDA Rolling Back SNAP Flexibility That States Need in Current Crisis,” CBPP, August 10, 2020, https://www.cbpp.org/blog/usda-rolling-back-snap-flexibility-that-states-need-in-current-crisis.