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coronavirus fallout

More than half of households in 4 largest U.S. cities struggled financially during pandemic, poll shows

There's no question the coronavirus pandemic has forced many Americans into financial hardship, but a new NPR/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation survey provided a clearer picture of the extent of the struggles in the United States' four largest cities.

At least half of all households in those cities — 53 percent in New York City, 56 percent in Los Angeles, 50 percent in Chicago, and 63 percent in Houston — reported facing serious financial problems, including depleted savings, problems paying credit card bills, and affording medical bills.

Black and Latino households in all four cities were particularly vulnerable. In New York, 62 percent of Black households and 73 percent of Latino households reported struggles. In Los Angeles those numbers are 52 and 71 percent, respectively, while 69 percent of Black households and 63 percent of Latino households in Chicago have faced the same. And, most drastically, in Houston, 81 percent of Black households and 77 percent of Latino households said their financial issues were serious.

Interviews for the poll were conducted online and via telephone between July 1-Aug. 3 among 3,454 adults in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston. The overall margin of error was 3.3 percentage points, while it was 5.4 percent for New York, 7.1 percent for Los Angeles, 5.4 percent for Chicago, and 6.3 percent for Houston. Read the full results here.