The U.S. Census Bureau released a new survey detailing changes in America’s quality of life in the COVID-19 pandemic years. Takeaways include a major shift to remote work and an increase in home values. However, salaries remained stagnant and rent prices rose. The survey collected answers from 3.5 million households.
The data is from the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 compared to 2019, before COVID-19. To no surprise, the survey found the amount of people working from home tripled. Nearly one in five employees found themselves working remotely. Remote work increased from 5.7% in 2019 to almost 18% in 2021. The use of public transportation drastically fell off with its usage cut in half. Only 2.5% of workers utilized city buses and subways. The study states fear of catching the virus was a major factor to the decline.
Something felt by many and now backed by data was the rise in rent costs. More than half of Americans spent a third of their income on rent alone. It was bad news for renters but there was good news for home owners as median home values rose from $240,500 to $281,400.
Median household incomes have remained stagnant or declined for two years in a row, according to new government data. “Real median household income was $70,784 in 2021,” the Census Bureau said in its report on income in the United States. “This estimate is not statistically different from the 2020 estimate of $71,186 and 2.8% lower than the 2019 median, the year before the most recent recession.”
The supplemental poverty rate for children also decreased significantly from 9.7% to 5.2%, a historic low. The decline was likely a result of government assistance programs, according to the study.