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As the COVID-19 virus spread throughout the region, its impact went beyond physical health and also affected the financial well-being of Greater Cincinnatians. Stay-at-home orders and business closures, among other factors, led to financial stress that can impact health.
For these reasons, the Greater Cincinnati COVID-19 Health Issues Survey asked adults how the pandemic affected their ability to meet basic needs.
It found that nearly 1 in 4 (22%) said that they had experienced at least one of the following financial difficulties: trouble paying utilities, trouble paying for food or difficulty paying rent or mortgage. Respondents most often reported struggles with housing costs (16%) and utilities (16%). Additionally, 13% said they struggled to pay for food during the pandemic. Fewer than 1 in 10 (8%) Greater Cincinnati adults said they struggled with all three.
These data, along with specific differences among certain groups, are reflected in this infographic. African American adults, for example were much more likely to report experiencing financial difficulty (35%) than white adults (20%). "Factors that affect economic stability, like income, housing status and food security, are closely linked to health outcomes," said Ross Meyer, VP of Strategy with Interact for Health. "Thus, as we look at the impact of the pandemic on people in Greater Cincinnati, we can't ignore those who weren't directly infected with the virus, but whose livelihoods were disrupted. Employment programs, career counseling and child care should be part of recovery plans. In addition, policies to help people pay for food, housing, health care and education can improve health and well-being moving forward."
Individuals and families in the region who are currently struggling with housing, utility or food costs should call United Way's 2-1-1 helpline to access services.
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