“I am literally living paycheck to paycheck,” JoAnn Hargrove told CNBC News. “Food is so expensive. I didn’t realize that when I was making the money I was making.” The 37-year-old single mother had to step away from working as a US postal carrier in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania once her seven-year-old daughter started learning virtually.
Hargrove, like many parents, is now relying on partial unemployment and weekend shifts to get by.
“I am counting on the stimulus check,” she added, talking about the pandemic relief aid package making its way through Capitol Hill.
During the pandemic, stories like Hargrove’s are not uncommon. A new survey by CNBC and Acorns Invest in You found that nearly a third of adults in America are counting the next stimulus check to get by.
Half of Black American survey participants said they were relying on the next round of aid while 57% of Black women said the same. The survey captured information from 6,182 between February 1 through February 8.
It also found that 40% of Black women said they had to use emergency savings or borrow money from a relative or friend during the pandemic, compared to 28% of Hispanic women and 27% of white women.
The survey also asked how people used previous stimulus money. Twenty percent of white people said they saved it, compared to only 9% of Black people saying the same. Black and Hispanic survey participants were more likely to use stimulus aid to pay mortgages and rent, the survey found.
The economic fallout of the pandemic has burdened Black American households who, according to analyses, were still recovering from the 2008 economic crisis.
Paired with the mass departure of Black women and other women from the workforce, the financial burden is being shouldered disproportionately.
Federal-level changes like increasing minimum wage and directly addressing who is being impacted in aid initiatives are some steps advocates say officials can take to bring relief.
“There have to be changes in the system and the policies that have basically enabled the level of challenge that we are seeing,” Dr. Shannah Tharp Gilliam told the outlet. Dr. Gilliam is the director of research and evaluation at Homewood Children’s Village, a nonprofit focused on improving the lives of families in the Homewood community of Pittsburgh and is also involved with the Black Equity Coalition which is providing resources to Black and Brown communities during the pandemic.
“Until we recognize that American is going to rise or fall together, we’re going to continue to see these same struggles,’ Dr. Gilliam added.
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