NC Families are Struggling in the Coronavirus Crisis

A survey released May 7th, 2020 by ParentsTogether and Down Home North Carolina shows that, even after the CARES Act, NC families struggle to pay for necessities and with unemployment. However, most respondents do not support re-opening the economy now and would not resume normal activities if the economy were re-opened.

On May 4, ParentsTogether surveyed our members in NC about how they are faring economically during the coronavirus crisis. 1,283 parents responded to our survey by Facebook Messenger. 424 of these respondents have children under the age of 18 at home, and 209 of them are grandparents. Here’s what they told us:

North Carolina Families are Struggling, Making Hard Choices

North Carolina families are struggling. Half of respondents have lost income or expect to due to this crisis. 62% say they feel their family is struggling. 59% are having to make trade-offs between necessities like rent/mortgage payments, utilities, and food for their families.

Unemployment benefits are not helping everyone who needs it:

  • 48% of those who have lost income say they are not eligible for unemployment, and another 30% don’t know if they are eligible or not. 60% of those who don’t know have not applied.
  • Of those who believe they are eligible, most have applied, but report difficulties getting approved, problems with the online application system, and hours-long waits to talk to a real person. Of those who were approved, many have experienced waits of multiple weeks to begin receiving benefits.
  • People who are approved for unemployment currently receive federal funds on top of state benefits, but those run out July 31st. Most say they would not be able to pay for even the basic necessities like rent and food if North Carolina were not to raise the current maximum of $350/week. 33% say they could not pay for necessities like rent and food. An additional 27% say they would “struggle a lot” paying for those necessities.

North Carolina families do not support opening up the economy before it’s safe to do so:

  • 57% of respondents say we need to “wait as long as it takes to open things up again to save lives, even if it hurts the economy.” Only 3% support mass opening. 
  • 62% of those who have lost income or expect to – the people most impacted by closures – support waiting as long as it takes.
  • 71% say that even if businesses like restaurants and non-essential stores were opened tomorrow, they would not start going back to them right away.

Full survey results can be found here.