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Economy

A New Survey of New Yorkers Exposes Pandemic Inequality

Black and Latino New Yorkers have suffered food hardship, housing insecurity and unemployment at far higher rates than white New Yorkers since the start of the pandemic.

A person carries groceries at a pop-up food pantry in Brooklyn in May. One-third of New Yorkers surveyed received groceries or meals from a food pantry in the pandemic, up from about 10% previously. 

A person carries groceries at a pop-up food pantry in Brooklyn in May. One-third of New Yorkers surveyed received groceries or meals from a food pantry in the pandemic, up from about 10% previously. 

Photographer: Demetrius Freeman/Bloomberg

Ever since New York became one of the first U.S. cities forced to contend with coronavirus, the pandemic’s inequality was abundantly clear: There were those who worked from home or fled to second homes, and there were those who risked essential work or found themselves unemployed. 

A new survey quantifies how Covid hit the most vulnerable in New York, and exacerbated pre-existing racial inequities around food, housing and employment. Robin Hood, a nonprofit that fights poverty in the city (not to be confused with this one), and Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy published preliminary findings for its 2020 Poverty Tracker at the same time it released its annual report for 2019 to provide an early window into this inequality.