Jun 17, 2022 - Economy & Business

COVID disproportionately hurt renters of color, study says

A rental property in Los Angeles, California on March 15, 2022. Photo: Mario Tama via Getty Images

The pandemic hit millions of renters hard — especially people of color, individuals living with children and those living in the South, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).

Why it matters: Rent reached an all-time high in recent months in large part due to the pandemic, which exacerbated existing inequities.

Details: In September 2020, 55% of all adult renters reported a loss of income due to COVID. That figure was even higher for Latino and Black renters at 65% and 57%, respectively.

  • When in January 2021 the U.S. reached its peak — 15 million — in the number of renters who fell behind, 33% of Black renters and 25% of Latino renters were behind compared to 12% of white renters.
  • By March this year, the U.S. was seeing a dip in the overall share of renters who were behind, yet it still remained higher for Black and Latino renters compared to white renters.
  • Black families with children struggled the most. An average of 32% said they were behind on rent, compared to 23% each for Latino and Asian families with children and 18% for white families.
  • Eight of the 10 states with the highest rates of housing hardship were in the South, where Black people make up a larger share of renters compared to other regions.
  • Federal aid programs have helped cut down the number of struggling renters, but as of March 10.4 million renters say they haven't yet caught up on rent, according to CBPP.

What they're saying: "The bottom line is that White renters are faring the best for all the structural, systemic and historical reasons with which we are familiar," Alicia Mazzara, CBPP's deputy director for housing equity and data analysis, said in an interview CNN.

  • "The most marginalized people were suffering the most and were overrepresented in any way we cut the data, looking at homelessness, rent instability or eviction."
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