Update: COVID-19 in Rural America – September 10, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis affecting nearly every community – including Rural America. While there are still many uncertainties, the health crisis changes daily and the pandemic’s impact on rural communities continues to grow and evolve. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents summary findings of COVID-19 in rural America as of early September 2020.

 

TOTAL REPORTED COVID-19 CASES FEBRUARY 20- SEPTEMBER 10, 2020

The first reported case of COVID-19 outside of metropolitan areas came on February 20, 2020. As of September 10, 2020, there were more than 732,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and over 16,700 associated deaths in communities outside of Metropolitan Areas. All but 14 counties outside of metropolitan areas now have reported COVID-19 cases, and nearly three-quarters of outside metro counties have also reported associated deaths related to the virus.

 

RURAL SHARE OF COVID-19 REPORTED CASES

Initial impacts of COVID-19 were greatest in urban communities and these areas still have the largest share of cases and deaths. But the rural share of COVID-19 cases continues to rise nationally. On August 10, 2020, approximately 12 percent of new COVID-19 cases and 18 percent of deaths were reported in rural communities. On September 10, 2020, 17.9 percent of new cases and 19.7 percent of new deaths were reported outside of metropolitan areas.

REPORTED RURAL COVID-19 RATES PER 100,000

Over 99 percent of counties outside of Metropolitan areas have reported COVID-19 cases, but the virus’ impacts vary widely across the nation’s rural geography. There are several instances of extremely high per-capita infection rates in rural areas – notably on some Native American lands and communities with meat packing and correctional facilities.  From August 10- September 10, the rural case and death rates increased most dramatically in the upper Midwest and in some Appalachian and southern counties.

ABOUT THE DATA

The information in this brief derives from Housing Assistance Council tabulations of data from The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey.
In these analyses, the terms “rural” and Outside Metropolitan Areas are synonymous and refer to counties and counts outside of OMB designated Metropolitan Areas. 

Rural Unemployment Rate Declines, but 1.8 Million Rural Workers Still Unemployed

 

To access an interactive version of this map visit: https://arcg.is/Ov8bq 

The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that rural labor markets have rebounded somewhat from astronomical unemployment rates earlier this spring. Yet, over 1.8 million rural workers are still unemployed – many as a result of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 health crisis. The June jobs numbers revealed a seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 8.8 percent for counties outside of metropolitan areas, down from the revised rural unemployment rate for May of 11.3 percent. The number of rural jobless fell from 2.2 million in May to an estimated 1.8 million for the month of June. At its peak in April, the BLS estimated approximately 2.8 million rural jobless with an unemployment rate of 13.6 percent in rural America.

While the rebound in the number of rural workers to just over 19 million is a positive development, there are still substantial concerns in rural labor markets as the nation still grapples with the COVID 19 health crisis. The rural unemployment rate is still nearly double the rate for February 2020 prior to the COVID crisis. Furthermore, the June job numbers do not reflect potential economic backsliding from the dramatic rise in COVID 19 cases over the summer. In the month of July there were almost as many new reported rural cases of COVID-19 than had been reported for the prior 5 months in total.

POTENTIAL UNEMPLOYMENT RAMIFICATIONS FOR RURAL HOUSING

Jobs and employment conditions have traditionally been a bellwether and leading indicator for housing trends. While the unemployment caused by COVID-19 is unprecedented and unpredictable, the continued high jobless rates signal the potential for serious concerns across the housing spectrum. Many Americans have been buoyed by large scale federal unemployment benefits and economic stimulus which largely came to an abrupt end in August and has yet to be clearly reestablished. If rural unemployment rates continue at these elevated levels, the collateral impacts to almost all sectors of the housing market could be substantial – notably the ability of unemployed households to make rent and mortgage payments.

About the Data: Information for this Brief derives from HAC tabulations of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) reporting. https://www.bls.gov/lau/  In this Brief the terms “Outside Metropolitan Area” and “Rural” are used synonymously and refer to counties and population outside of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) designated Metropolitan Areas. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Bulletin-18-04.pdf

Covid-19 Reported Cases per 100,000 population - August 2, 2020

Update: COVID-19 in Rural America – August 2, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis affecting nearly every community – including Rural America. While there are still many uncertainties, the health crisis changes daily and the pandemic’s impact on rural communities continues to grow and evolve. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents summary findings of what we know about COVID-19 in rural America as of early August 2020.

 

Covid-19 Reported Cases in Rural America - August 2, 2020

TOTAL REPORTED COVID-19 CASES FEBRUARY 20- AUGUST 2, 2020

On March 16, 2020, the CDC issued guidelines for Social Distancing. As of August 2, 2020, there were more than 460,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and deaths from the virus have now surpassed 10,000 in communities outside of Metropolitan Areas. All but 32 counties outside of metropolitan areas have reported COVID-19 cases, and now over 60 percent of these counties have also reported associated deaths related to the virus.

Outside Metropolitan Cumulative Covid-19 Cases - August 2, 2020

 

NEWLY REPORTED COVID-19 CASES FEBRUARY 20 – AUGUST 2, 2020

The level of new COVID-19 reported cases grew dramatically in July and the number of reported cases outside of metropolitan areas continued to skyrocket as well. From July 2 to August 2 there were almost as many new reported rural cases (225,553) than had been reported for the prior 5 months in total (235,201). There were a reported 3,381 rural deaths related to COVID-19 in the past month as well.

Covid-10 New Reported Cases - August 2, 2020

RURAL SHARE OF COVID-19 REPORTED CASES

Initial impacts of COVID-19 were greatest in urban communities and particularly devastating to some metropolitan areas. As of August 2, 2020, approximately 10 percent of COVID-19 cases and 7 percent of associated deaths have been reported in rural communities. But the rural share of COVID-19 cases continues to rise nationally.

Covid-19 New Reported Cases - August 2, 2020

Reported Rural COVID-19 Rates per 100,000
Over 98 percent of rural communities have reported COVID-19 cases, but the virus’ impacts vary widely across the nation’s rural geography. There are several instances of extremely high per-capita infection rates in rural areas – notably on some Native American lands and communities with meat packing and correctional facilities.  From July 2- August 2, the case and death rates increased most dramatically in the rural Southeast.

Covid-19 Reported Cases per 100,000 population - August 2, 2020

 

To access all graphics and interactive maps visit: https://arcg.is/1HH0H4.

ABOUT THE DATA

The information in this brief derives from Housing Assistance Council tabulations of data from The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey.
In these analyses, the terms “rural” and Outside Metropolitan Areas are synonymous and refer to counties and counts outside of OMB designated Metropolitan Areas. 

HAC urges support of rural housing programs in Covid-19 relief efforts

HAC would like to thank all of the organizations that expressed their support of rural housing programs!

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Organizations


Congress is currently working to negotiate a fourth COVID-19 relief package. Rural housing programs have yet to receive any supplemental funding to address this growing crisis in small towns and rural communities. HAC is circulating a sign-on letter to Congressional leadership in support of including rural housing funding in the next relief package. You can view the text of the letter here. As a valued friend of HAC, we hope that you will add your organization’s name to this effort.

If you have any questions, please reach out to HAC’s Government Relations Manager, Samantha Booth, at samantha@ruralhome.orgThe deadline to sign on is Wednesday, July 22nd. We appreciate your help.