First National Poll of Latinos in 2020 Finds 35% of Households Have Experienced a Layoff as a Result of COVID-19

Apr 20, 2020
9:55 AM
Originally published at Latino Decisions

As the Latino community grapples with the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a higher rate of fatalities compared to other populations, the nation’s first in-depth poll of the Latino population in America for 2020 has found that 35% of Latino households have already experienced a job loss, while more than 65% of respondents reported having difficulty buying or finding necessities such as food, household supplies or medicine.

The poll was conducted by Latino Decisions in partnership with SOMOS, the country’s largest physician-led health delivery network. Of SOMOS’ nearly 3,000 physicians and 800,000 patients, nearly all are immigrants or first-generation Americans, and over two-thirds are Latino.

“Congress has a responsibility to protect every community, and this survey shows that economic relief is not reaching the Latino community despite being disproportionately impacted,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The numbers are alarming and wake-up call for lawmakers to include assistance for essential workers such as farmworkers, grocery store clerks, and health care professionals and also mixed-status families, children who are American citizens, in the next coronavirus response package.”

Nationwide, the poll found that 22% of all Latino adults know someone who is ill due to coronavirus. That figure jumps up in the New York/New Jersey area to almost 50%. More than a quarter reported knowing someone wants to be tested but cannot. Again, that figure jumps to 35% in the New York/New Jersey area. The poll also found deep concern among Latinos as 59% report they are very worried that someone in their family will become seriously ill from coronavirus.

“It’s clear that COVID-19 is not only having a disproportionate effect on the Latino population in relation to their health but also their economic stability. We are doing this work so that we can continue to monitor the overall effects of the coronavirus on the community, respond with the resources we have and call out to our leaders when changes need to be made,” said Henry R. Muñoz III, Co-Founder of SOMOS. “The impacts from this crisis are going to be felt in the Latino community long after the apex of this disease passes, even more so if we cannot get access to widespread testing. We cannot sit by while members of our community die or are laid off at an alarming rate.”

Latinos in America are solidly behind continued plans to stay at home during this crisis despite the economic hardships they are facing. Only 19% of Latino adults favor accelerating the nation’s return to work, whereas 81% favor remaining doing “whatever we can” to prevent the spread “even if it means more weeks of staying at home.”

“The poll’s finding that 65% of Latino households have felt a negative impact from the shutdown, either losing a job, wages, or a small business, is a sobering confirmation of the economic devastation in our community,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of UnidosUS. “Our organization will continue to advocate in Congress and with our champions in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to intentionally include more targeted and comprehensive assistance to the Latino community in the next stimulus and relief legislation.”

“Especially in densely populated areas like New York City, it is crucial we expand testing and that we push for community care long after the height of the pandemic passes. We need to learn why we are so vulnerable and address the underlying crises that COVID-19 has exposed,” said Dr. Ramon Tallaj, Board Chairman of SOMOS. “For example, we run the risk of entire apartment complexes being exposed because the first person who showed symptoms was unable to get a test and find a safe place to quarantine or get medical treatment.”

The poll was conducted by Latino Decisions between April 7-12, 2020 to gauge impact and reactions to COVID19.  It is the largest, and most comprehensive survey of Latinos conducted on the health and economic crisis our country faces. The poll sampled Latino individuals across the country, with additional sampling in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas and California.

“This poll has confirmed some of our worst fears. We found that more than 65% of the people we spoke to were having some type of difficulty buying basic household necessities and half of the households had less than $500 in available savings,” said Matt Barreto, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Latino Decisions. “The people who we spoke to who have been able to keep their jobs are working at extraordinary risk, with 36% of Latinos still working outside the home, many in critical or “essential” jobs in produce, food and restaurant, or health care sectors.  More than a third of those working outside the home report feeling “unsafe” in their work environment because they not been given proper masks, gloves or other PPE.”

Recording of the press conference available here.


Latino Decisions is the leader in Latino political opinion research. Founded by professors of political science, Dr. Gary M. Segura and Dr. Matt Barreto, our firm leverages a unique combination of analytical expertise and cultural competencies that are unparalleled in the industry.