Federal Reserve Survey Shows Impact of COVID-19 on Communities Nationwide

For immediate release: May 4, 2020

A new report from the 12 Federal Reserve banks and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System shows the scope and scale of challenges that U.S. communities are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Perspectives from Main Street: The Impact of COVID-19 on Communities and the Entities Serving Them Adobe PDF file format" examines the findings of a nationwide survey of nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, government agencies, and other community organizations. The survey was conducted in April 2020 with nearly 3,900 respondents serving rural, suburban, and urban communities.

Key findings include:

  • Nearly 7 out of 10 respondents indicated that COVID-19 was a significant disruption to the economic conditions of the communities they serve and said they expect recovery to be difficult.
  • Income loss, business impacts, health concerns, and basic consumer needs were the most frequently cited effects of COVID-19.
  • More than a third of respondents indicated it will take longer than 12 months for their communities to return to the conditions prior to the disruption from COVID-19.
  • 72 percent of respondents indicated that COVID-19 is significantly disrupting the entity they represent, with 41 percent expecting to bounce back quickly after recovery begins.
  • 25 percent of respondents indicated their entity could operate for less than three months in the current environment before exhibiting financial distress.

"Listening to and learning from the front line entities working to support local communities is critical to shaping effective policies and programs. This survey helps amplify their voices as we try to understand the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations, businesses, community-based organizations, and others," said coauthor Karen Leone de Nie, vice president and community affairs officer in the Community and Economic Development group at the Atlanta Fed.

"As leaders take efforts to slow the spread of the virus and protect public health, we are gauging the impact of COVID-19 to help position monetary policymakers, community development experts, and other decision makers to best respond. To do that, we are gathering timely information from the communities we serve. The Federal Reserve works to foster economically resilient communities, and this is especially important during an unprecedented time like this," said report coauthor Daniel Paul Davis, vice president of community development and community affairs officer at the St. Louis Fed.

The survey will continue to be conducted about every eight weeks, with findings then updated.

About the Fed's community development function: The Federal Reserve seeks to promote the economic resilience and mobility of individuals and communities across the United States, including low- and moderate-income and underserved households. Increasing economic opportunity not only benefits individuals and communities but is also vital to the overall economy.

Contact: Karen Mracek: email | 470-249-8348