US government shelves survey that painted bleak picture of Covid-19 life

US government shelves survey that painted bleak picture of Covid-19 life

  • Census Bureau survey tracked quality-of-life measures
  • Findings showed many Americans do not have enough food

The US Census Bureau has suspended a weekly survey that painted a bleak picture of American life during the Covid-19 pandemic, with no sign of when, or if, it will resume publishing the report.

The “household pulse survey” tracked various quality-of-life measures, such as food sufficiency, internet access and mental health, and was first conducted by the Census Bureau on 23 April to “quickly and efficiently deploy data collected on how people’s lives have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic”, according to the agency’s website.

While data such as weekly unemployment claims released by the Department of Labor has shown how many people have lost their jobs, the survey provided a window into the effect the economic downturn is having on the lives of Americans.

US households were asked whether they had enough food to eat and internet availability for education, if they had experienced depression or anxiety over the last seven days, and whether they felt they could afford next month’s rent or mortgage payments, among other questions.

Over the past three months, the survey painted a desolate picture of what American households are experiencing during the pandemic – a picture that showed little sign of improvement.