Review: Economic vulnerability of households with essential workers

Review: Economic vulnerability of households with essential workers

This study uses 2018 national survey data to characterize the proportion of essential workers in the US overall and living in economically vulnerable households, defined as income below $40 000 or at least 1 member uninsured or older than age 65.

The authors analyzed nationally representative data from the 2018 American Community Survey (ACS). Their sample included 3,214,539 unique individuals.

Main findings included:

  • 40% of the US adult population were essential workers.
  • Of essential workers, 46% were female, 14% were black, 17% were Hispanic, 11% were uninsured, and 8% were 65 years or older
  • 8 of the 21 industry categories from the ACS accounted for 73% of essential workers
  • Health care accounted for a larger proportion (15%) of essential workers than any other industry: 65% of health care workers held essential jobs
  • Black individuals were overrepresented in several essential industries, notably transportation (23%), public administration (18%), and health care (18%)
  • An estimated 51% of households included an essential worker
  • 25% of essential workers were estimated to have low household income, 18% to live in a household with at least 1 uninsured person, and 18% to live with someone 65 years or older
  • 48% of essential workers lived in a household with at least 1 risk and 13% of essential workers lived in high-risk households

Findings suggest a need for economic analyses of the costs and benefits of approaches such as stimulus payments, short-term health care coverage, and prioritized testing for essential workers and their familes.

|2020-06-19T17:15:21-04:00June 19th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|0 Comments

About the Author: Erika Cheng

Erika Cheng

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