Households of color continue to be affected at disproportionate rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, with utility disconnections, evictions and debt higher in their communities than in their white counterparts.
That's according to the latest data from the Indiana University O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, which surveyed more than 1,800 Americans at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line.
The survey, conducted by professors Sanya Carley and David Konisky, is the second wave of the "Survey of Household Energy Insecurity in Time of COVID." The first batch of data, released in June, both highlighted and foreshadowed significant problems with vulnerable populations' ability to pay utility bills, put food on their tables and remain in their homes. Carley and Konisky hypothesized that the energy demands of summer heat would only exacerbate the problem.
The newest data, covering Aug. 4 to 20, confirms those suspicions.
Since June, 17 percent of surveyed respondents reported that they could not pay their energy bill, 11 percent had received a notice for utility disconnection, and 4 percent had been disconnected from the electric grid. These overall rates, however, disguise important disparities across low-income families.
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