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Child Trends published a report Wednesday finding that Black and Latino Households are almost twice as likely as their white counterparts to experience three or more hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Child Trends, 31 percent of Black and 29 percent of Latino households with children experienced three or more economic or health-related hardships. In an interview with NBC News, Dana Thomson, a researcher at Child Trends, said that such hardships do not only impact parents.  

“It’s easy to look at the hardships that we’ve identified and think that this is mainly happening to the parents,” said Thomson, who is also a co-author of the report. “But research shows that the stress that families and parents experience definitely trickles down to their children either indirectly through parent-child interactions or by the types of experiences that they’re able to provide, or directly.”

The report reviewed data from the Census Household Pulse Survey to track seven types of hardships including food insecurity, unemployment, symptoms of anxiety or depression, general difficulty paying expenses and falling behind on rent or mortgage. From its review, Child Trends noted that Black and Latino households were at a greater risk for pandemic related challenges due to existing systemic issues. 

“A range of structural inequities and systemic barriers make it much more likely that Hispanic and Black families will experience not just a single, temporary stressor, but an accumulation of multiple hardships—particularly during a period of economic instability like the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report said in part. 

Researchers have pointed to the added stressors on families and children due to discrimination. The report’s findings also suggest that the compounded experience of multiple stressors could impact children’s success in school and the ability to learn. This study also comes as school districts are grappling with learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged remote learning. Racial disparities were found to persist across income levels.

A November 2020 report from the CDC found that school-aged children and adolescents experienced increased mental health-related symptoms. Families and communities continue to bear the bulk of the burden as federal and state governments struggle to get control over the pandemic.

Anoa Changa is a movement journalist and retired attorney based in Atlanta, Georgia. Follow Anoa on Instagram and Twitter @thewaywithanoa.


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