Essence study reveals how black women are affected by COVID-19

A majority of black women said the pandemic has hurt their finances, mental health and access to food and household essentials, a survey found.

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By Wilson Wong

A majority of black women reported that the pandemic has negatively affected their finances, emotional well-being and access to food and household essentials, according to a survey released Thursday by Essence magazine.

“Black women are one of the most influential and active voting blocs in the U.S., and are heads of household in almost 30 percent of all Black households, which is more than twice the rate for all women,” Richelieu Dennis, founder and chair of Essence Ventures, parent company of Essence, said in a statement. “So it is vital that we understand what they are thinking, feeling and experiencing as a result of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.”

While nonscientific, the survey is one of the first comprehensive studies of how black women are being affected by the coronavirus outbreak, according to Essence. The study fielded responses from 1,048 black women from April 22 to April 30.

Among its significant findings were that 1-in-4 black women personally knew someone who died from COVID-19, and 44 percent personally knew someone who had contracted it. The study also found that 63 percent of black women’s mental health was negatively affected, and 56 percent were facing a lack of access and availability of food and household essentials.

An overwhelming majority of black women, 85 percent, didn’t have enough computers or laptops to support the educational needs of their children as schools transitioned to remote learning, the survey found.

Last month, the nonprofit Lean In surveyed COVID-19’s impact on women, revealing that black women were the hardest-hit population.

“ESSENCE’s Impact of COVID-19 on Black Women study underscores the observation that while we are all in the same storm, we are not in the same boat,” Dennis said in the statement.