Press Releases

NEW REPORT SHOWS HOW ESSENTIAL WORKERS OFTEN STRUGGLE TO MAKE ENDS MEET AND HOW GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS HELPED RHODE ISLANDERS DURING COVID-19

The Economic Progress Institute released its biennial report, the Rhode Island Standard of Need (RISN), which shows what it costs to live in Rhode Island. The RISN calculates a no-frills budget that includes the cost of housing, food, transportation, health care, child care, and other basic necessities. It also highlights how federal and state work supports help Rhode Islanders meet the costs of basic needs. This year’s report also looks at racial and ethnic disparities in the ability of Rhode Islanders to meet basic needs and how additional government support has helped essential and other workers and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings of this report show that Black and Latinx Rhode Islanders are less likely to be able to meet expenses.

LATEST CENSUS POVERTY DATA HIGHLIGHT BARRIERS TO ECONOMIC SECURITY FOR RHODE ISLANDERS, ESPECIALLY COMMUNITIES OF COLOR

2020 Updates Show Urgent Need for Government Action

People across Rhode Island continue to face dire economic hardship — particularly Rhode Islanders of color and those with low incomes — as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, making the need for bold action at the state and federal levels clearer than ever. That’s the picture painted by new data released today from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and the ongoing Household Pulse Survey.

Rhode Island’s overall poverty rate in 2019 was the 2nd highest in New England with 110,000 — more than 1 in 10 Rhode Islanders struggling to afford basic needs. However, the 2019 data do not reflect the economic hardship currently experienced by Rhode Islanders due to COVID-19.

RHODE ISLAND'S LOW UNINSURED RATE CONTINUED IN 2019

For 2020, the federal government must act so Medicaid coverage mitigates loss of employer coverage during COVID and to shore up state budgets

New data released by the Census Bureau today show that in 2019, there were 43,000 Rhode Islanders (4.1%) who lacked health insurance. This is essentially the same rate as in the previous year but less than half the rate in 2013 before the Affordable Care Act went into effect. Rhode Island ranks as the 3rd best state in the nation for coverage of its residents.

The 2019 data do not reflect the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on health insurance coverage. According to the Census Bureau, in 2019 60.7% of Rhode Islanders had employer-based health insurance. The significant job and income losses due to COVID-19 over the last 6 months may also have resulted in loss of health insurance, but the availability of Medicaid may have helped mitigate the loss of coverage.

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