COVID-19 Impacts On Financial Wellbeing in Texas
The U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey data offers a window into the financial hardships experienced by Texans, as well as the state of the economic recovery for Texas households. Some aspects of financial wellbeing are improving from the early days of the pandemic, including higher levels of employment and reduced challenges meeting household expenses, but housing and food insecurity have persisted as challenges for many Texans. Compared to the United States as a whole, Texas continues to lag in important measures of financial security and stability.
17.8% of Texas households experienced loss of employment income in the last 4 weeks of the survey period, compared to the national average of 16%.
11.9% of Texas households reported having not enough to eat either sometimes or often, compared to the national average of 9.4%.
32.5% of Texas households reported a high likelihood of not being able to make their next rent payment, compared to U.S. households at 26.3%.
34.3% of Texas households reported that it was somewhat or very difficult to pay for usual household expenses, compared to the national average of 28.6%.
Comparison Over Time: COVID-19 & Financial Hardship
This chart compares the economic wellbeing of Texas households during the period of August 19-31, 2020, the first period of available data for all economic variables to September 29-October 11, 2021. Texas households experienced fewer losses in employment income, and there were slight improvements in their ability to pay for usual expenses. In contrast, Texas households reported food and housing insecurity at higher rates in the fall of 2021 compared to earlier in the pandemic.
Financial Hardship by Race and Ethnicity
Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Covid-19 Financial Hardship in Texas by Race and Ethnicity
Survey of Texas Households, August 19-31, 2020 (Week 13) and September 29-October 11, 2021 (Week 39)
Looking at the Four Measures of Financial Hardship by Race and Ethnicity:
Black and Latino households have been particularly harmed by employment income loss and food insecurity, and have been more likely to face difficulty covering household expenses compared to white and Asian households.
Asian households struggled in the early period of the pandemic, but survey data indicate that many households have recovered financially.
Black renter households face the greatest ongoing struggles to pay rent, with 45.5% reporting hardship paying rent in week 39 of the survey.
Nearly one in three white and Latino renter households struggled to pay rent in week 39 of the survey. The rate of housing insecurity has increased for white renters compared to the early period of the pandemic.
Enhanced Child Tax Credit
Qualifying families with children were eligible to receive monthly payments of the enhanced child tax credit starting July 2021 and ending in December 2021. Data from the fall of 2021 show that 44.8% of Texas households that received a Child Tax Credit payment in the last 4 weeks mostly used it to pay off debt, compared to 38.3% of U.S. households.