Changes in Economic Hardships Arising During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Differences by Nativity and Race


Hardships in early childhood impact health. Few longitudinal studies have examined pandemic-related hardships among families with young children by race/ethnicity or nativity. We used prospective longitudinal data from 1,165 caregivers of children < 4 years surveyed in English and Spanish face-to-face in 5 urban hospitals 1/2018 to 3/2020 (pre-pandemic) and again by telephone 9/2020 to 3/2021 (during pandemic). Caregivers reported hardships (household food insecurity [HFI], child food insecurity [CFI]), behind on rent [BOR]) and maternal race/ethnicity and nativity. During the pandemic vs pre-pandemic, families with immigrant mothers had greater increases in HFI [aOR = 2.15 (CI 1.49–3.09)] than families with US-born mothers [aOR = 1.44 (CI 1.09–1.90)] and greater increases in BOR [families with immigrant mothers aOR = 4.09 (CI 2.78–6.01) vs. families with US-born mothers aOR = 2.19 (CI 1.68–2.85)]. CFI increases for all groups did not vary by nativity nor race/ethnicity. HFI and BOR increases during COVID were significantly greater in families with Latina mothers and those with immigrant mothers than other groups.