COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the economic security and well-being of families. Since March, the economy has shed more than 13.3 million jobs – 55 percent of them lost by women – triggering widespread unemployment and sharp declines in household incomes. In mid-May 2020, almost 21 million people were unemployed. At 51.4 percent, women make up majority of those out of work or seeking employment—a historic first for the nation.
In addition to finding and sustaining employment, many families are struggling with food insufficiency, a direct consequence of lost earnings. Nationally, more than 37 million Americans, including more than 11 million children are food insecure. In households headed by single women with children, food insufficiency is three times higher than those headed by married couples — 27.8 and 8.3 percent respectively (Coleman-Jensen et al. 2019). Food insufficiency rates are highest among Black and Latino single-mother headed households compared to white single-mother households.1
The COVID crisis has exacerbated pre-existing levels of inequality. Disparities in access to high-quality healthcare and higher rates of pre-existing health conditions has led to higher rates of COVID-related deaths and mortality for Black and Hispanic Americans (Blanchard et al. 2020).
Using data from the recently released U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, this brief explores the impact of the decline of household income during the Pandemic on food sufficiency of families by race, gender and ethnicity.