Fifteen percent of rural Americans surveyed in the past week said they had either lost their job or were laid off because of the coronavirus pandemic, and an additional 14 percent said they were worried they would lose their jobs, according to the results of a survey released on Thursday. Eight of 10 respondents said the pandemic had affected their lives, most frequently in the form of low inventory in stores and online.
The survey was commissioned by RuralOrganizing.org, which describes itself as a network of rural progressives. Matthew Hildreth, executive director of the group, said the survey of registered voters showed they have broad concerns about the pandemic. “The rural hospital closure crisis … has left small towns and rural communities uniquely vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Half of respondents said the pandemic had had “a large impact” on their daily lives, and 32 percent said it had somewhat of an impact. In describing that impact, 88 percent listed low inventory at stores and online, 43 percent reported higher prices, and 31 percent said they had lost income due to fewer work hours or less business. Some 56 percent said they had spent more time watching TV, and 30 percent said they had done more online shopping.
The rural infection rate for the coronavirus is one-fourth the U.S. average, but 80 rural counties have rates above the national average, said the Daily Yonder. “And some rural counties have Covid-19 infection rates among the highest in the country.”