April 6, 2022

Loss of Income, Food Insecurity, and More: Florida Families Continue to Struggle Amid Pandemic, Survey Data Shows

Households of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19

ORLANDO, Fla. - Floridians continue to experience the harsh effects of the pandemic, including loss of income, food insecurity, barriers to paying rent/mortgages on time, loss of health care coverage, and feelings of anxiousness, according to the nonpartisan, nonprofit Florida Policy Institute (FPI). In its latest report,  Keeping a Finger on the Pulse: COVID-19's Lingering Effects on Florida Families, FPI highlights U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey data derived from the National KIDS COUNT® Data Center.

Floridians of color have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, with Black and Hispanic households reporting a loss of income at more than double the rate of white households.

In its analysis, FPI highlights the following survey data collected between Dec. 29, 2021, and Feb.7, 2022, from adult respondents who live in households with children:

  • Twenty percent reported having lost income in the four weeks preceding the date of the survey. When examined by race and ethnicity, 28 percent of Black adults, 27 percent of Hispanic adults, and 13 percent of non-Hispanic white households reported such a loss of income.
  • Twenty-three percent reported little or no confidence in their ability to pay their next rent or mortgage payment. This includes 38 percent of Black families, 26 percent of Hispanic families, and 17 percent of non-Hispanic white families.
  • Nearly one in three reported “feeling anxious, nervous or on edge for more than half the days in the preceding week.”
  • Twelve percent reported having no health insurance.
  • Fourteen percent reported that there “sometimes or often” was not enough to eat in preceding week.

“This survey data provides an important snapshot into the lives of Floridians during what have been unpredictable times ,” said Sadaf Knight, CEO of FPI. “Clearly, the adverse impacts of the pandemic and recession are continuing to reverberate in communities across the state, with Black and Latina/o families bearing the brunt of them.”

To mitigate this hardship and equitably improve child well-being so that all of Florida’s children thrive, FPI recommends:

  • Making the American Rescue Plan Act’s expanded Child Tax Credit permanent and expanding access to child care and universal pre-K;
  • Making the changes to the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program and Summer Feeding Program that were included in the federal nutrition reauthorization permanent;
  • Extending the recertification period for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from six months to 12 months;
  • Expanding Medicaid, which would close the health care coverage gap for over 400,000 Floridians who are uninsured; and
  • Expanding access to behavioral health care.

“I urge our lawmakers in Florida and in D.C. to keep the focus on boosting household income for people struggling to make ends meet and ensuring access to affordable health coverage,” added Knight.

The U.S. Census Bureau, in partnership with other federal agencies, launched its Household Pulse Survey in April 2020 to obtain timely information to inform pandemic response in areas including childcare, education, employment, and food security. This survey is administered to a sample of Floridians on a biweekly basis.

KIDS COUNT is a registered trademark of The Annie E. Casey Foundation in the United States and/or other countries and is used with permission of the Foundation.

FPI, the state’s KIDS COUNT partner, is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing state policies and budgets that improve the economic mobility and quality of life for all Floridians.

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