WI23-08: COVID-19 Health Disparities and the Economic Security of Families with Children



The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income families and racial and ethnic minority communities. This project will use new data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to contribute to our understanding of the causes and consequences of COVID-19 health disparities. Focusing on children and their caregivers, will compare groups of families with disparate COVID-19 experiences. First, we will consider the structural and social inequities that may underlie COVID-19 health disparities. Next, we will evaluate the impact of a parent or caregiver’s COVID-19-related illness, hospitalization, or disability on measures of economic security. Finally, we will explore the extent to which the pandemic has exacerbated preexisting disparities in underserved communities. Our sample will include families that participated in both the 2019 and 2021 waves of the PSID. The panel structure will allow us to compare outcomes both across groups and within the same group over time.

This study is closely aligned with the SSA’s interest in the structural barriers that may contribute to disparities by race and ethnicity and, particularly, the impact of COVID-19 on the economic security of persons from underserved communities. The proposed research will help us to better understand how lingering post-COVID health problems affect the economic security and well-being of families. Prospective findings could inform predictions about the need for SSDI and SSI benefits, including children’s benefits when COVID-19 illness leads to a parent or caregiver’s disability as well as changes in the distribution of SSDI or SSI applications across racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

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