New data on pandemic’s impacts on the region

Concerns about income, food, housing, though region faring better than others

Almost half of Puget Sound residents (46%) surveyed in May said someone in their household had lost job income since COVID-19.

But the picture is less bleak here than in other places. In Los Angeles and adjacent Riverside MSAs, 60% or more of households reported wage losses after the pandemic started.

Data comes from the Census Bureau’s new Household Pulse Survey, which includes the country’s 15 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue MSA is made up of King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.

The Pulse Survey is different from the 2020 Census. It's intended to provide real-time data on how people’s lives have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the survey started April 23, the percentage of households reporting loss of employment income has not changed much.

One bit of positive news is that the number of residents who anticipate losing wages has steadily decreased each week.

Hunger has increased for many households. Nearly one in ten surveyed the week ending May 26 said they “often” or “sometimes” did not have enough food to eat during the last seven days. That percentage has grown over the last month.

Households were also asked if they had “No,” “Slight,” “Moderate,” or “High” confidence in their ability to pay the next month’s rent or mortgage.

Renters were much more likely than homeowners to worry about their next payment. Nearly one in four renter households (23.1%) had little confidence they would be able to pay their landlords.

In the most recent survey, 5.8% of homeowners thought they might not be able to make their next mortgage payment.

Both groups showed their lowest levels of confidence in mid-May, with improvements in the last survey—maybe as a result of the economy re-opening.

The Census Bureau cautions this survey is experimental and may not meet all of its usual quality standards. A limited number of addresses were selected from across the country to represent the entire population.

Percentages in this blog post do not include households that did not respond to specific items.

The Census Bureau expects to collect Household Pulse Survey data for 90 days. In addition to the topics mentioned here, the survey also asks questions about health and children’s education.

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