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Survey of Over 1300 Families Shows North Carolina Parents Struggling During the COVID crisis

A survey released today by ParentsTogether and Down Home North Carolina shows that, even after the CARES Act, NC families struggle to pay for necessities and with unemployment. However, most respondents do not support re-opening the economy now and would not resume normal activities if the economy were re-opened. 

The results of the survey are here.

Blog post summarizing findings here.

The organizations surveyed over 1200 ParentsTogether members in North Carolina. 62% of respondents reported that they are struggling as a result of this crisis, with 59% of those who have lost income saying they had to make hard decisions between paying rent/utilities and buying food and other necessities. 

“This economic crisis is having a huge impact on North Carolina families,” said Justin Ruben, co-director of ParentsTogether. “Families need a lifeline from both the state and federal governments that will last – because this crisis isn’t going away. Families are telling us they are already forgoing necessities like medications, or missing important bills like utilities, to put food on the table for their kids.”

“These survey results make clear what we hear every day: North Carolina families are struggling,” says Sugelema Lynch, an organizer with Down Home NC. “COVID-19 is exposing the social and economic crisis our communities have been experiencing for years. Our elected officials need to take immediate action to help our state’s most vulnerable. We can’t leave anyone behind.” 

Below, please see topline findings from ParentsTogether and Down Home NC’s May 4 survey of 1,387 parents and ParentsTogether members. A more in-depth survey analysis can be found here.

  • North Carolina families are struggling. Half have lost income or expect to, due to this crisis. 62% say they feel their family is struggling.

  • 59% of those who have lost income are having to make trade-offs between necessities like rent/mortgage payments, utilities, and food for their families.

  • 71% are worried about covering basic costs by the end of the summer.

  • 48% of those who have lost income say they are not eligible for employment, and another 30% don’t know if they are eligible or not. 60% of those who don’t know have not applied.

  • Most respondents do not support re-opening the economy soon. 71% say that even if businesses like restaurants and non-essential stores were opened tomorrow, they would not start going back to them right away.


Below, please find a sampling of testimonials from the respondents:

“I wasn’t able to pay the rent last month and this month is looking like I won’t be able to pay the rent either. I have 3 kids in the home, and I can’t work because I’m the only one caring for them while school is closed. I just got my food stamps approved, so at least I don’t have to stress about food, but I do stress about utilities and rent and diapers because I also have a newborn. It is just a rough time to be unemployed.”

Bianerca, Charlotte

We are eating a lot less. Rice and beans and tomato sauce. Ramen noodles. My child’s clothes are too small but we can’t get more right now. If things don’t change, she may not have much for her birthday in July.”

Kara, Nash County

“I’m behind on rent and lights because we had to buy food and other necessities. This is such a stressful time.”

Charnelle, Charlotte


About Down Home North Carolina: Down Home North Carolina builds multiracial power with working people in the small-town and rural places in our state. Down Home members organize around the issues that they identify as most pressing in their communities. By organizing together, we can shape a democracy that serves working and poor people, where our labor and families are valued, and where our food, water, land, and communities are healthy.