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COVID-19

July 8, 2020

Federal Reserve Survey Shows Pandemic’s Impact on Low- to Moderate-Income Communities

COVID-19 continues to have a profound effect on people nationwide. A new Federal Reserve System report spotlights specific challenges that low- to moderate-income (LMI) communities are facing.

The report, “Perspectives from Main Street: The Impact of COVID-19 on Low- to Moderate-Income Communities and the Entities Serving Them,” examines findings of a nationwide survey of nonprofits, financial institutions, government agencies and other community organizations. The survey was conducted in June 2020 with over 1,800 respondents serving rural, suburban and urban areas across the U.S.

Key findings show:

  • Sixty percent of respondents indicated COVID-19 was significantly disrupting economic conditions in the communities they serve and said they expect the recovery to be difficult.
  • The most frequently cited impacts of COVID-19 were income loss, job loss and unemployment.
  • Nearly half indicated it will take more than 12 months for the communities and people they serve to return to the economic conditions they were experiencing prior to the pandemic.
  • About 1 in 5 said their organizations could operate for less than three months in the current environment before exhibiting financial distress.

In mid-July, a Regional Matters post will discuss state-level data from the Richmond Fed’s district.

“It’s important that we continue to monitor and better understand the impact of COVID-19 on low-to-moderate income communities and those entities that serve them, in order to assist in identifying and supporting solutions for recovery,” said Christy Cleare, assistant vice president of Community Development for the Richmond Fed.

All 12 Reserve banks and the Board of Governors conducted a similar survey in April. The Fed continues deepening its outreach to organizations serving LMI communities to gather actionable information about the pandemic’s ongoing disruption.

About the Fed’s community development function: The Federal Reserve seeks to promote the economic resilience and mobility of individuals and communities across the U.S., including LMI and underserved households. Increasing economic opportunity is not only good for individuals and communities, but also is vital to the overall economy. Learn more about the Richmond Fed’s Community Development efforts on the Bank’s website


As part of our nation’s central bank, the Richmond Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks working together with the Board of Governors to support a healthy economy and deliver on our mission to foster economic stability and strength. We connect with community and business leaders across the Fifth Federal Reserve District — including the Carolinas, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and most of West Virginia — to monitor economic conditions, address issues facing our communities, and share this information with monetary and financial policymakers. We also work with banks to ensure they are operating safely and soundly, supply financial institutions with currency that’s fit for distribution, and provide a safe and efficient way to transfer funds through our nation’s payments system.

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