Study reveals pandemic's impact on families

United Way study finds that the pandemic has had an uneven impact on families, with many respondents saying covering monthly expenses has been difficult, and/or unable to continue to work due to childcare issues, as well as the large growth of the 'newly needy'.

Posted: Dec 18, 2020 2:01 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - There is no doubt about it - family budgets have been strained this year. Even the simplest things, including paying the electric bill, have added to that strain.

Now, a study released by the United Way of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa shows a dramatic increase in the number of people requiring assistance in 2020.

The United Way's COVID Financial Impact Study highlighted a few key areas in which the pandemic has impacted Iowa families: namely, it's had an uneven impact, and hit those who work in occupations with the greatest disruptions like hospitality, food service, retail and health or social assistance. Second, covering monthly expenses has been difficult, with most respondents that received a federal stimulus payment said it wasn't enough to cover even a full month's worth of expenses. Third, 6% of respondents say they are unable to continue to work due to childcare issues, with 10% saying they're working reduced hours because of childcare issues. 

"One of the big concerns we saw in this study were the number of people affected by childcare going away, changing...there's been so much flux in that market that families with kids are having a hard time working full time because of the scattered nature of how kids get taken care of," United Ways of Iowa executive director Deann Cook says.

The last key finding in this survey is the dramatic growth of the 'newly needy,' with Cook citing call data to Iowa 211; about 130,000 calls were received by the health and human service referral system.

"The calls have been overwhelming this year, especially from folks who have never have had to navigate social services before and are looking at a starting point. Just because they were able to keep their head above water prior to COVID, but with COVID - their job went away or they developed a health problem, or a combination of all of those."

United Way of North Central Iowa CEO Jen Arends says that the agency's COVID Emergency Relief Fund that was established earlier this year collected $102,000. The $40,000 that was set aside for individual assistance has already been spent.

The study grew out of prior work to to elevate the needs and concerns of families living below the $50,000 threshold for a family of four.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 485230

Reported Deaths: 6554
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1006801585
Ramsey43047801
Dakota36254390
Anoka33274384
Washington22065255
Stearns18723201
St. Louis14794262
Scott13273107
Wright12517115
Olmsted1177988
Sherburne871572
Carver771040
Clay690387
Rice670091
Blue Earth593835
Kandiyohi579474
Crow Wing519681
Chisago498445
Otter Tail481870
Benton446190
Winona418049
Mower404131
Douglas392568
Nobles386847
Goodhue385568
Polk342762
McLeod339349
Beltrami337351
Morrison324247
Lyon313044
Itasca312746
Becker310941
Isanti305754
Carlton300149
Steele299711
Pine282016
Freeborn280523
Nicollet258141
Todd247830
Brown244637
Le Sueur235020
Mille Lacs227247
Cass219924
Waseca208917
Meeker207434
Martin189328
Wabasha18623
Roseau180217
Hubbard160640
Houston157314
Dodge15214
Renville149540
Redwood147027
Fillmore13728
Chippewa136335
Cottonwood134820
Pennington134116
Wadena130920
Faribault122917
Aitkin118933
Sibley117310
Watonwan11728
Rock115714
Kanabec107419
Pipestone101424
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9438
Jackson93510
Swift87918
Pope8025
Marshall77815
Stevens7418
Lake73718
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68316
Wilkin67110
Koochiching61811
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5062
Grant4918
Unassigned47968
Norman4768
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40821
Red Lake3625
Traverse3055
Lake of the Woods2191
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 362189

Reported Deaths: 5414
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58146549
Linn20653312
Scott18288207
Black Hawk16249291
Woodbury14961211
Johnson1383473
Dubuque13537194
Dallas1135890
Pottawattamie10765143
Story1021645
Warren555274
Clinton543284
Cerro Gordo533681
Webster518787
Marshall496272
Sioux494369
Buena Vista473236
Des Moines457661
Muscatine451191
Wapello4330108
Jasper416966
Plymouth394577
Lee375352
Marion359069
Jones294154
Henry292737
Carroll285548
Bremer280154
Crawford274735
Boone259630
Washington254147
Benton252854
Mahaska224346
Jackson221438
Dickinson217439
Tama213465
Kossuth208154
Clay193525
Hamilton192042
Delaware188839
Winneshiek188427
Buchanan185129
Fayette185035
Page183219
Hardin181039
Wright179731
Harrison179669
Cedar177923
Clayton168053
Butler166331
Mills163120
Floyd162740
Madison154518
Cherokee153935
Poweshiek153730
Hancock146829
Lyon145841
Allamakee145646
Iowa144423
Appanoose139147
Grundy139030
Jefferson138232
Winnebago138230
Cass134151
Calhoun133711
Mitchell130840
Louisa128241
Union126331
Chickasaw125213
Sac124218
Emmet121240
Shelby121033
Franklin118419
Humboldt117425
Guthrie116528
Palo Alto104921
Montgomery103936
Howard103121
Clarke100520
Unassigned9890
Keokuk98129
Monroe93128
Adair91928
Ida91032
Pocahontas85519
Davis82623
Monona81627
Greene77310
Lucas73821
Osceola70514
Worth6987
Taylor66412
Fremont5919
Decatur5789
Van Buren55918
Ringgold52020
Wayne48821
Audubon4869
Adams3264
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
22° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 7°
Mason City
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 8°
Albert Lea
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 11°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 7°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
19° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 5°
Mild conditions expected this week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events