Black and Latinos' Finances Hit the Hardest by COVID-19, UCLA Survey Finds

The survey found that of the people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, 21% were Blacks and 14.8% Latinos.

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Racial and ethnic groups, including Blacks and Latinos, have suffered the worst financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 76.6% of California adults would get a coronavirus vaccine if available, according to survey results announced Wednesday by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Preliminary information from the UCLA CHPR's monthly statewide health survey shows that 10.9% of people lost their jobs due to the pandemic, including 21% of Blacks and 14.8% of Latinos, as compared to 9.6% of whites, as well as 25% of non-elderly -- ages 18-64 -- uninsured Californians.

Financial difficulties with basic necessities impacted 11.2% of those surveyed, with 23.1% of Black people and 15.5% of Latinos reporting difficulties, compared with 6.8% of white people.

In May, Californians answered questions for the survey, such as whether they are experiencing difficulties dealing with COVID-19, with 18.5% of respondents reporting that they continued in an essential job role, 17.7% experiencing reduced job hours and income, and 11.2% having financial difficulties with basic needs.

Nearly 22% of adults said they experienced an increase in conflict at home during stay-at-home orders, with larger households and families with children more likely to report increases.

“When we started to see the impact that COVID-19 was going to have on the community, we felt called to produce data that can be used by decision-makers on who and how to assist during this unprecedented time,'' said Ninez Ponce, director of UCLA CHPR and principal investigator of the California Health Interview Survey.

Other key findings include:

  • 5.4% of Asians reported being untreated fairly during the pandemic compared with 2.1% of the total group of adults surveyed;
  • 69% of uninsured Californians who reported in May that they lost their jobs or had their work hours reduced because of the pandemic said the main reason they were without insurance was because they could not afford it, and 11.4% said the main reason was because they were not eligible for health insurance due to losing their jobs; and
  • 26.5% of those who reported experiencing serious psychological distress in May continued to report to work as an essential worker, while only
  • 15.9% reported switching to working from home. 
  • Among those who did not report serious psychological distress in May, 21.7% reported continuing to report to work as an essential worker, while 28.9% reported switching to working from home.

The survey can be accessed at

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