New ParentsTogether Survey Finds More Families Struggling Now Than In March and April

Survey of Over 1,500 Parents Indicates Economic Crisis Is Not Improving for Families, Eviction Cliff Looms, Lack of Childcare Making Things Worse

Since the Coronavirus crisis hit, ParentsTogether has been continually surveying our members to find out how it’s hitting parents and families. Between June 28 and July 1, we surveyed a random sample of over 1,500 parents from our list. Here’s what they told us:

Toplines: Families are struggling, and they’re not getting the help they need

Families report that since March, things have only gotten worse.

  • 70% say their “family is struggling,” up from 58% in March and 61% in April.
  • Of those who believe they should be eligible for unemployment, 60% have not received any payments.
  • 45% of families are worried (either “somewhat” or “very concerned”) about losing their home if evictions start up again.
  • Only 56% were able to pay their rent/mortgage without cutting back on other essentials like food and medicine, vs. 59% in April.

Some politicians are saying re-opening the economy will help these families, but many people  surveyed lost income for reasons other than their workplaces closing, and are not being helped by re-opening:

  • Of parents with kids under 5, dependent care (child care) is the biggest reason people lost income. 44% of parents who lost income said this was the reason.
  • Half of people who lost income did so not because their place of work closed or hours were cut, but because they were sick, had to care for kids, or were worried about infecting themselves or someone else.

When CARES Act funding expires this month, families will be in even more trouble:

  • 74% of those surveyed said they would have trouble paying for basics like rent and food without the extra unemployment benefits from the CARES Act.

Most respondents support scaling back the re-openings:

  • 46% thought we should have waited longer to re-open non-essential businesses, and 36% thought we should have done it more slowly.
  • 70% think we should scale back the re-opening now that cases are on the rise again.

“When families struggle, kids pay the price and right now, families are drowning—and the reopenings haven’t helped,” said Justin Ruben, Co-Director of ParentsTogether. “Unless Congress acts immediately, things will only get worse as the extra unemployment checks stop, and evictions start. To protect kids, Congress needs to provide ongoing economic relief, a pause in evictions, and solutions to the child care crisis.”

In-depth results:

Do you feel like your family is struggling as a result of this crisis?

Many of us are concerned about having enough money for food or housing. If things don’t improve, are you worried about covering basic costs:

Which of the following best describes the reason for your lost income?

Have you received any unemployment payments?

The extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits that the government passed in March is set to expire on July 31. If Congress does not act to extend these benefits and they expire, will you have trouble covering basic expenses like rent, food, or utilities? 

Many places have reopened many businesses, parks, beaches and activities, even though COVID-19 cases are on the rise and politicians admit this could cause more deaths. Do you support the reopening?

Some people are saying we need to issue COVID closures again because cases are on the rise. Do you think we need to scale back the re-opening?

And here’s what some respondents said in their own words:

I was barely able to pay rent for June, but I had to sacrifice everything else — our water, electric, internet, car payments are all behind. We have no money for groceries, thankfully we have WIC so I have been able to feed my son. I know that I will not be able to pay July’s rent and will most likely be evicted if I can’t find a way to pay it. Even if I can I will have to let everything else fall even further behind.

Shelby, CO

I am alternating paying all my bills, it just depends on what I have in the bank for that month. A few bills I have had to skip longer than a month or two, such as water and garbage bills and I have been able to get some more time, but it only puts me further behind. I need to be able to go back to work full time and get some overtime to catch up completely.

Lisa, OR

I’m having to decide whether or not to buy food for my family or pay the rent and have a place for my family to live.

Holley, MS

[I] stopped paying all credit cards, had to choose between credit card payments or food/electricity. I have vulnerable family members and cannot return to work until COVID-19 cases drop, our local hospital is currently at 100% capacity. I have no health insurance and am scared to death of catching this virus, with underlying health conditions it could be lethal.

Kristen, TX 

We have had to postpone my daughter’s education. She was scheduled to start school online, but the added expenses of moving my office to my home and preparations for a quarantining lifestyle used up her tuition. We have also found ourselves trying to find ways to get access to the internet without paying a deposit for a full hook up. It has gotten expensive.

Elva, MT 

We have been very blessed during the past few months to be able to work from home and get paid full wages. However I teach and our school is reopening starting July 6th and so I can only work two days a week instead of 5 because of lack of childcare. So we will now start to feel the impact in the upcoming months.

Nika, CA

Have to “skip” making utility payments every other month to have enough money to buy basic food items just to be able to eat one meal a day.

Kim, WV