The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on vulnerable people across the United States, including racial and ethnic minorities and immigrants. Many have faced challenges in retaining employment and meeting the basic needs of their families. In order to better support Louisville’s underserved communities and expand equitable access to services for all residents, New American Economy (NAE) partnered with the City of Louisville to survey residents about their experiences during the pandemic. The COVID-19 Community Impact Survey, conducted between February and May of 2021, asked Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) and immigrant communities in Louisville about their essential needs, the impact of COVID-19 on their wellbeing, and what assistance they have received to support their families through the crisis.
- COVID-19 has had a significant impact on employment. More than one in five BIPOC and immigrant respondents said they were unemployed at the time of the survey; one in four reported losing a job during the pandemic; and one in three had their hours reduced. At least two out of every five BIPOC and immigrant respondents indicated they did not have access to paid sick time if they became ill.
- Respondents reported certain barriers when accessing medical care during the pandemic. About 8 percent of BIPOC and immigrant respondents did not receive the medical care they needed. Among the respondents who received medical care, one in four BIPOC respondents and one in five immigrant respondents indicated high co-payments or fees were a challenge, while one in seven BIPOC respondents experienced overcrowded facilities when accessing care.
- Many disadvantaged households face severe financial strain. When thinking about the future, BIPOC and immigrant respondents were most worried about paying utilities and other bills (44 percent of BIPOC respondents and 47 percent of immigrant respondents), paying down debt (41 percent of BIPOC respondents and 36 percent of immigrant respondents), and paying for healthcare and medicine for their family (38 percent of BIPOC respondents and 37 percent of immigrant respondents).
- Local organizations provide much-needed assistance, but more can be done to support vulnerable communities. The majority of BIPOC and immigrant respondents felt that there was a local organization they could turn to if they needed help with healthcare, housing, food, or other basic needs. However, more than 7 percent of BIPOC respondents and 9 percent of immigrant respondents reported not having a local organization they could rely on for assistance.