10 Stats That Show How COVID-19 Has Worsened Housing Inequality

April 19, 2021

2020 was a year of uncertainty and stress for all of us. The pandemic brought with it a long list of new issues and exacerbated existing ones, with housing inequality near the top of the list. With the rise in unemployment and the toll of COVID-19 on many people’s health, the nation’s housing crisis has only gotten worse and will continue to do so without major national changes. The figures below illustrate the effects of the last year on the already enormous problem of housing inequality and national rates of homelessness. 

  1. Americans owe a collective $57 billion in back rent as of January. (via: Moody’s Analytics) 
  2. There have been more than 200,000 evictions during the pandemic, including tens of thousands with the eviction moratorium in place. (via: The Eviction Lab) 
  3. An estimated 15.1 million adults living in rental housing —1 in 5 adult renters — were not caught up on rent, according to data collected January 6–18. (via: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) 
  4. The national unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent in April 2020 – the highest rate in the history of the data available back to January 1948. (via: U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics) 
  5. Renters of color were more likely to report that their household was not caught up on rent: 36 percent of Black renters, 29 percent of Latino renters, and 16 percent of Asian renters said they were not caught up on rent, compared to 12 percent of white rentersaccording to data collected January 20–February 1(via: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) 
  6. Since the beginning of the pandemic, landlords have filed more than 247,000 evictions across five cities in 27 states. (via: The Eviction Lab) 
  7. The highest single 7-day rate of positive COVID tests for the entire United States population between the months of June and October was 7.8% while COVID positivity rates for those experiencing homelessness fell in an average range of 9-12% for that same time period. (via: United Way of the National Capital Area) 
  8. According to data collected January 20-February 1, nearly 83 million adults — 35 percent of all adults in the country — reported it was somewhat or very difficult for their household to cover usual expenses in the past seven days. (via: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) 
  9. The number of tenants paying rent using credit cards increased 31% between March and April 2020, 20% from April to May, and a 43% increase in the first two quarters as compared to the prior year. (via: The Aspen Institute) 
  10. As of September 2020, roughly one in 5 renters earning less than $25,000 said they were behind on rent. (via: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University) 

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