Pandemic Hits Housing Security For Minority Groups

The coronavirus will have a disproportionate impact on Latino, Asian and African-American households due to the nature of the jobs members of these communities hold and how much of their income they pay for housing, according to a new analysis by Zillow.

With more than 22 million Americans filing for unemployment in the last four weeks, a large number work in the food, retail and arts industries. Nationwide, Zillow found, 8.3 percent of white workers are employed in these industries – compared to 12.7 percent of Latino workers, 10.2 percent of Asian workers and 10.1 percent of African-American workers.

This is made worse by rent burdens for each community. White households in these industries spent 25.1 percent of their income on rent, while African Americans spend 28.3 percent, Latins spend 30 percent and Asians at 30.6 percent.

“This analysis highlights the financial tightrope many households walk in our vital service industries,” said Skylar Olsen, senior principal economist at Zillow. “While it’s encouraging that many who receive government assistance appear to be on solid footing for a few months, it’s important to remember that some workers will see labor disruptions, such as a loss of hours, that don’t qualify them for these unemployment benefits that are so crucial right now. And if the pandemic were to last beyond the summer, it could have lasting impacts that push many more into housing insecurity.”