Households with children taking the biggest financial hit during pandemic: New York Fed report

FILE PHOTO: People walk wearing masks outside The Federal Reserve Bank of New York in New York
FILE PHOTO: People walk wearing masks outside The Federal Reserve Bank of New York in New York City, U.S., March 18, 2020. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)


Households with children are under severe economic strain and at greater risk of needing to dip into savings, missing a rent payment or not having enough food to eat during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report published by the New York Federal Reserve on Thursday.

Single parents households in particular, are losing jobs, income and health insurance at higher rates than other households with children. For example, 23.2% of single-parent households said the head of the household faced a permanent or temporary layoff in May or June, compared to 12.9% of households with children and 9.2% of households without children.

Households with single parents were also more likely to depend on help from friends, family and food banks. Some 34.1% of single-parent households said they were receiving food stamps, compared to 13.1% of households with children overall, the study found.

Many single parents said they were falling short, even with the assistance. Some 11.5% said they struggled to find enough food to eat or that their kids sometimes had to miss meals.

The New York Fed analyzed data from the Survey of Consumer Expectations, a monthly poll of a rotating panel of roughly 1,300 nationally representative U.S. households. The broader survey released earlier this week showed that U.S. consumers became more concerned about losing their jobs in July, after two months of feeling slightly more optimistic.

The research did not factor in the challenges faced by families who are taking care of children at home because child care centers and schools are closed.

Analysts said the child care shortage was forcing parents to make difficult choices and risked reversing some of the economic gains made by working women, who studies show were more likely to take a career hit than men in the absence of child care.