The COVID pandemic has created havoc in everyone’s lives. The devastation is not only local but global. Almost every country is struggling to cope with the repercussions which have trickled down to the average middle-income family. We’re only now beginning to realize the extent of the economic impact of COVID-19 on middle income families.
The shutdown of hundreds of thousands of businesses has led to increased unemployment in almost every sector. In addition, social distancing has led to a disruption of both social and inter-professional relationships. But the most significant impact of the pandemic has been on the middle-class family. Millions of people have lost their jobs and are facing significant financial challenges.
While nations continue to recover slowly, there will still be many people who will no longer have a job, and for them. That means the problems are just beginning.
Here is a quick overview of the economic impact of COVID-19 on a middle-income family:
For both landlords and tenants, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a nightmare. Even though the government has enacted laws to prevent landlords from evicting people who cannot pay their rent, this is only a temporary measure. Eventually, the rents will have to be paid, but without a job, many middle-income families will be in a very tough situation. Some may even be forced out of their homes.
Similarly, landlords who have been renting homes and bedrooms still have bills to pay but cannot collect rent. They’re finding it difficult to pay accumulating property taxes, maintenance, and utilities. In some cities, the government ban on eviction of tenants who have not paid rent has expired. As such, landlords have started the process of eviction.
But the pandemic has also shut down the courts. It may take months or even years to get an eviction formalized. For the middle-class families who are stuck with mortgages and no job at the moment, making their monthly rent payments is no longer feasible.
Most middle-income families In North America own a car, if not two or more. With the loss of a job, many people have a hard time paying their monthly loan or lease payments. Plus, some drivers have been skipping on paying car insurance. While many insurance companies have offered a rebate on car insurance during the pandemic, the premiums have not changed.
In any case, the law is very clear. No driver should operate a vehicle without insurance as the penalties are serious. If caught driving without car insurance, one could face license suspension, monetary fines, cancellation of car registration, and even incarceration. Hence, many middle-income families are struggling to find a solution with the only reprieve being comparing rates between providers to find more affordable auto insurance.
During the height of the pandemic, all non-essential services, including daycare and childcare services, were closed. Now that some of the workers are returning to work daycare facilities are also gradually reopening.
However, many middle-income parents have not earned a salary for the last few months. Paying others to look after their children while they go to work is not an option. Even those who have maintained their jobs during the pandemic have not been able to find daycare at all. This has led many to make other child care arrangements at much higher costs. Daycare is not cheap, and for the majority of the public, it’s a major hardship that has no immediate solution.
During the COVID pandemic, many food supply chains were interrupted. Thus, the price of almost every food item has gone up. With no jobs and expensive groceries, some families are buying the cheapest food possible. There’s even a concern that malnutrition may become rampant shortly.
Children still need to eat a healthy diet to promote healthy growth. But without money, many middle-income families are only buying essential food items. Some are even turning to food pantries, but food stocks are increasingly stretched in those facilities as well.
This can be detrimental in so many ways. Students have not been provided formal structured education. In many schools in North America, schools provide additional services like breakfast and lunch to needy children. These programs are often free or available at very low-cost. They also support vital nutrition needs for children, especially those coming from financially vulnerable families. Even though the online teaching of students has been started, the effectiveness of this type of learning has not been assessed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also jeopardized the health of millions of people. Many clinics are either closed or accepting very few patients because of social distancing. Many elective surgeries have been cancelled. Delays in seeing a healthcare provider are common.
Also, people who have lost their jobs have also lost their health insurance. Now they have to pay out-of-pocket for most of their medical expenses. Surveys indicate that lack of money is a common reason why some people are skipping on doctor visits.
The COVID pandemic has created an intense amount of stress in most people. Being huddled at home for months has led to a high incidence of domestic abuse, mental stress, anxiety, and irritability.
And when these individuals have a chance to go outside, there are rules to abide by. Friction with other people not wearing masks is an everyday occurrence. And there is a long waiting list to see a mental health worker today.
No one knows when a vaccine will be available, what it will cost, and if it will work. Our lives have changed drastically following the COVID-19 pandemic. While jobs will return eventually, the economic and psychological consequences on middle-income families are severe. These families may take months or even years to recover.