ESSENCE Releases ‘Impact Of COVID-19 On Black Women’ Study
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Black women across the United States are feeling the far-reaching impact of COVID-19 to varying degrees, and many of us who are able to practice social distancing are in no hurry to return to our pre-quarantine routines, according to Impact of COVID-19 on Black Women, a new study from ESSENCE.

The study, the first comprehensive look into how the novel coronavirus has disrupted Black women’s lives, shows that we have experienced changes in our “jobs and financial stability,” as well as “family and health.”

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

From a health perspective, Black women have a major concern about contracting the virus themselves (67%), but are even more concerned that loved ones could get infected (80%). One in four (24%) personally knows someone who has died from COVID-19, and 44% personally know someone who has contracted it. Black women say the pandemic has most negatively impacted their emotional well-being (64%) and mental health (63%), with 43% saying it has also negatively impacted their physical health. While just over one- third (34%) of Black women say the pandemic has had a negative impact on family relationships, 83% plan to spend more quality family time post-pandemic.

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Concerns regarding education are overwhelming, and significant opportunities exist for educational resources, tools and support to be increased. The majority of Black women who are parents (85%) say there are not enough computers or laptops in their household to support the educational needs of their children, and 79% say their children are not getting enough support from their school systems.

… while we are all in the same storm, we are not in the same boat. — Richelieu Dennis, founder and chair of Essence Ventures

Financially, over half (52%) of Black women in the study are currently facing or anticipating a negative financial impact as a result of the pandemic, as compared with only 20% who are not, and half (50%) say that their ability to work effectively has been negatively affected by the pandemic. In addition, 70% of Black women business owners reported a negative impact on their businesses, with the majority attributing the impact to no or low sales, supply chain disruptions and an inability to cover expenses. Most Black women (88%) believe that the COVID-19 crisis will lead to an economic recession.

Issues of safety and containment measures, whether testing, contact tracing or otherwise, will likely continue to be critical as businesses and cities seek to successfully reopen and rebuild consumer confidence, with the study’s post-pandemic behavior findings showing that 39% of Black women currently say it will be longer than a year before they travel internationally, and 28% say they do not plan to travel internationally. Half (50%) say they do not plan to use Uber/Lyft, and 41% do not plan to attend sporting events. The top three activities that Black women say they will immediately resume once it is deemed safe are visiting friends/family; going to church/religious institutions; and outdoor activities.

Black women say the pandemic has most negatively impacted their emotional well-being (64%) and mental health (63%)…

Additional key findings from the ESSENCE Impact of COVID-19 on Black Women study include:

  • The CDC is the most trusted source of information (57%) for Black women when it comes to thepandemic (followed by news channels at 42%). However, Black women currently use news channels most (69%) to gather information, followed by news websites (43%), the CDC website (32%) and then state government websites and social media (both 31%). Still, state government websites are trusted by 33%, whereas social media – though used as much – is only trusted by 8%.
  • Black women view Dr. Anthony Fauci (66%) as the most trusted leader/expert when it comes to information on the pandemic, followed by state governors (46%) and city mayors (30%), while President Donald Trump is the least trusted (1%).
  • The majority of Black women were already planning to vote in the upcoming presidential (63%) and state (62%) elections, and the COVID-19 crisis does not impact their plan to vote. However, almost 30% say they understand the power of their vote more today than ever and are more likely to vote in the upcoming elections (27% in presidential; 29% in state).

ESSENCE Insights research team surveyed 1,048 Black women ages 18+ across the U.S. for this study. It was fielded April 22 – April 30, 2020 as a 10-minute online survey and was powered by the ESSENCE Insights research team. 

ESSENCE is committed to bringing our audience the latest facts about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Our content team is closely monitoring the developing details surrounding the virus via official sources and health care experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Please continue to refresh ESSENCE’s informational hub for updates on COVID-19, as well as for tips on taking care of yourselves, your families and your communities.


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