Nearly half of Americans say a second stimulus check is necessary to cover their essential expenses like food and housing over the next three months, according to a recent Money/Morning Consult poll. The survey also found the highest reported need among Black Americans.
Overall, 42% of Americans said they needed an additional check to make ends meet, while 32% said further assistance would be helpful but not necessary to cover basic expenses. Just 11% reported that they didn't need a second stimulus check at all.
These results come as lawmakers deliberate sending Americans a second stimulus check, months after the first relief package was signed into law. The initial checks of up to $1,200 per individual, with an additional $500 per dependent, were intended to alleviate economic distress brought on by the coronavirus. But the effects of that fix (and others like it) have waned, while the effects of the coronavirus are still very much at play.
Lawmakers' proposals have varied, from another single payment of $1,200 per individual to $2,000 a month per eligible American for up to three months after the pandemic abates. And eligibility requirements are similarly up in the air, meaning the number of people receiving the check could be smaller, bigger, or stay the same as before.
Meanwhile, the White House said it wants to put a $1 trillion cap on any legislation encompassing a potential second stimulus check, which is half of what the bill for the first stimulus package cost. What we do know is that the Senate will probably start working on a new bill this month, as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly hinted.
But people are in want of that extra money now. Three-fourths of Americans said they could either really use — or really need — the additional help to sustain their livelihoods, when Money/Morning Consult polled 2,200 respondents earlier this week.
It isn’t far from what we found in a survey conducted earlier this year, after the first round of stimulus checks were mailed out. A majority of Americans said they spent that money responsibly, putting the funds towards basic necessities like bills and groceries, but noted that it would barely last them four weeks.
That was two months ago. Based on the results from this most recent survey, Americans forecasted correctly — and the numbers become more extreme as we dig into certain demographics.
Black Americans Face the Greatest Need
While 74% of all Americans surveyed said the check would be useful in paying for essential expenses, 82% of Black Americans said the same.
Even more significantly, 57% of Black respondents said a second stimulus check was necessary to cover essential expenses, compared to 39% of white respondents, 46% of Hispanic respondents, and 46% of those who identified their race as "other."
This was one of the biggest disparities in the data, and it comes as the country is facing a social reckoning over the systemic injustices against Black Americans — including challenges they face in the job market.
White workers, for example, have recovered from pandemic-related job loss more quickly than Black workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among white Americans dropped from 14.2% in April to 12.4% in May, even as the Black unemployment rate rose slightly, from 16.7% to 16.8%.
Unemployed Americans Need Extended Relief
A whopping 65% of unemployed Americans say an additional stimulus check would be necessary to cover essential expenses, and a little less than half of self-employed workers said so as well.
This is the case even as both groups are receiving an extra $600 each week, as part of the expansions on unemployment benefits granted to them by the first stimulus package. However, that extra $600 boost is scheduled to expire on July 31 — meaning a second check couldn’t come soon enough.
Younger Americans Report More Need Than Retirees
Finally, younger Americans were more likely than their older counterparts to claim a second check to be necessary in covering essential expenses. About half of young Americans (age 18 to 34) said a second stimulus check was necessary to cover essential expenses, while only 26% of Americans age 65 or older said they needed it.
Conversely, retirees were more likely than any other group to say they didn’t require an additional check.