COVID widened the chasm between Bay Area ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’

Russell Hancock, President and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. 

When polled last month, 51% of people making less than $50,000 a year said their financial situation has gotten worse during the pandemic, while 13% said it improved and 36% said it stayed the same. Just the opposite happened as people’s incomes increased: 51% of respondents making $250,000 or more reported their financial situation improved, while just 7% said it got worse.

While 5% of people making at least $250,000 lost a job during the pandemic, nearly a quarter of those earning less than $50,000 did. And people with higher incomes were much more likely to be able to work from home, lessening their exposure to the virus — 71% of people earning $250,000 or more had that option, compared to 20% of people earning $50,000 or less.

These pandemic-related impacts also fell unequally on those of different races and ethnicities, reinforcing other long-standing dividing lines. Since the pandemic began, 63% of Black and African American residents said they worried about savings, compared to 35% of White or Caucasian residents and 47% of Hispanic or Latino residents.

The poll surveyed 1,610 people in five core Bay Area counties between Sept. 22 and Sept. 26. The number of Black and African American residents who responded was relatively small, making for a higher margin of error for that group.

Before COVID, Ronnie Davis, a 70-year-old African American chef from Oakland, was selling food like southern fried chicken and oxtail dinners out of his house and getting paid to shuttle people without cars to errands and appointments. It helped supplement his disability payments, which are less than $1,000 per month.

When COVID hit, Davis had to shut down his side-hustles. Then, in the summer of 2020, Davis caught the virus and spent 12 weeks in the hospital, near death.

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic slashed the finances of many Bay Area families, devastated their sense of economic security and forced them to scrimp, downsize and seek help, it simultaneously lifted others up, padded their savings and allowed them to upgrade their lifestyle.

A new poll by the Bay Area News Group and Joint Venture Silicon Valley spotlights the vast disparities between these two groups, showing how drastically the already substantial chasm between the region’s “haves” and “have-nots” has widened. Low-income workers whose jobs must be done in person experienced more pay cuts, layoffs and financial distress during the pandemic, while higher-earning people who could work from home were far more likely to say their finances improved.

  Calabasas doctor sentenced to 14 months for accepting bribes

In a region where inequity has long been a defining issue, experts say this growing division could have disastrous effects on our economy – potentially driving out the workers the region needs to cook our food, drive our trucks and watch our children.

Read part one of our survey: Has COVID pushed Bay Area stresses to the breaking point?

“We divided into two camps,” said Russell Hancock, president and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. “And this was already happening but people weren’t focused on it. It wasn’t in our faces. The pandemic just made it bold, stark, dramatic and inescapable.”

Russell Hancock, President and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. 

When polled last month, 51% of people making less than $50,000 a year said their financial situation has gotten worse during the pandemic, while 13% said it improved and 36% said it stayed the same. Just the opposite happened as people’s incomes increased: 51% of respondents making $250,000 or more reported their financial situation improved, while just 7% said it got worse.

While 5% of people making at least $250,000 lost a job during the pandemic, nearly a quarter of those earning less than $50,000 did. And people with higher incomes were much more likely to be able to work from home, lessening their exposure to the virus — 71% of people earning $250,000 or more had that option, compared to 20% of people earning $50,000 or less.

These pandemic-related impacts also fell unequally on those of different races and ethnicities, reinforcing other long-standing dividing lines. Since the pandemic began, 63% of Black and African American residents said they worried about savings, compared to 35% of White or Caucasian residents and 47% of Hispanic or Latino residents.

The poll surveyed 1,610 people in five core Bay Area counties between Sept. 22 and Sept. 26. The number of Black and African American residents who responded was relatively small, making for a higher margin of error for that group.

Before COVID, Ronnie Davis, a 70-year-old African American chef from Oakland, was selling food like southern fried chicken and oxtail dinners out of his house and getting paid to shuttle people without cars to errands and appointments. It helped supplement his disability payments, which are less than $1,000 per month.

When COVID hit, Davis had to shut down his side-hustles. Then, in the summer of …read more

  Turkey's Erdogan bids farewell to Merkel after 16 years

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)

Golden Globes 2021: The Complete List of Nominees | Entertainment Weekly

'Framing Britney Spears': Inside her 'unraveling' and conservatorship battle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *