In this brief, we assess how adults and their families were faring six months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Using data from a nationally representative survey of nonelderly adults, we find that one in four adults reported that their family’s financial situation was worse in September 2020 than it was at the beginning of March 2020, before the pandemic caused a sharp economic recession. However, the deterioration in families’ financial situations varied significantly by race/ethnicity and income. More than one-third of Hispanic adults, nearly 3 in 10 Black adults, and more than 4 in 10 adults with prepandemic incomes below the federal poverty level reported that they were worse off financially in September than they were in March.
Relief legislation enacted in the early months of the pandemic provided substantial assistance to mitigate the recession’s effect on households, but much of this assistance was temporary and negotiations for further relief remain stalled in Congress. Without additional assistance, families that have experienced job loss during the pandemic could face worsening hardship in the coming months and disparities by race and ethnicity and by income in financial stability and health could grow wider.