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Unless you own a toilet paper factory, you'd be hard pressed to find someone whose finances and/or livelihood weren't negatively impacted by COVID-19. Now, two years after the first wave of lockdowns in the United States, the economic effects of the pandemic are still being felt by families and individuals across the country in spite of the significant strides made toward recovery.

However, even though most of us can think of at least one way in which our lives reflected the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, some groups of the population felt it more than others—much more, as it turns out. In particular, low-income groups were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, meaning that those who were already economically vulnerable experienced even greater financial loss.

To put this in perspective, here are a few facts and data points that illustrate the economic effects of the pandemic:

  • The leisure and hospitality sector experienced the largest amount of job losses. Within that sector, low-wage workers (that is, those who were more likely to already be living paycheck-to-paycheck, and had fewer assets to fall back on) were impacted the most.
  • Further, marginalized groups such a Black and Hispanic women, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders were also disproportionately affected.
  • High unemployment, combined with supply chain issues, have contributed to rising food insecurity. According to one survey conducted shortly after the start of the pandemic, 7% of households were experiencing food insecurity. In households with children, that number jumped to 17.5%.
  • The global poverty rate has increased from 7.8% to 9.1% as a result of the pandemic.

While things have certainly improved since the early days of the pandemic (for example, the unemployment rate has dropped by around 11%), many are still struggling to recover from their financial losses—and may continue to do so for some time to come. For people in this position, resources and services that focus on low-income groups provide invaluable support.

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Visit our website for more information on our senior meals program or to download a copy of our utility assistance application.