COVID-19: The Pandemic Disproportionally Affects Black Single Mothers

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

In a world where being black is tough, raising a black family is even tougher. Leading a black household and preparing your children for racially motivated discriminatory behaviors and bias is a heavy burden to bear. Single black mothers are known to be resilient and unwavering, but the pandemic has proven to be a unique obstacle that no one could prepare for.

A higher proportion of low-income jobs are held by members of the black community, as shown in the study conducted by the America Progress: “The Economic Fallout of the Corona Virus on People of Color”. When the pandemic arrived, it abruptly and significantly affected the physical, mental, economic health of black households, especially those headed by single black mothers with little to no help or dual income. For instance, Marie Lourdes Pierre-Jacques, an immigrant from Haiti who has been employed in the hotel business for 28 years, lost her job on October 2020 where she had been working as a banquet server for 18 years through an ill-fated call. She was grief stricken as she had to take care of her two sons with whom she had sacrificed a lot of time to devote to work to provide for their daily needs. She no longer has health insurance for her family and with the pandemic looming, she has to seek a new source of income and with the vast majority of companies laying off their staff, the task is insurmountable.

According to Rashawn Ray’s article “Why are Blacks Dying at Higher Rates from COVID-19” African Americans lack access to equitable mental health care, healthy food options, and private medical facilities. This translates to the black community having greater exposures not only to the Corona virus itself, but also the residual impacts caused by access to sub-par healthcare. For example, the pandemic limited the number of prenatal visits by restricting the number of patients allowed in a doctor’s office and/or deterred black mothers from going to the doctors office at all. Given that black women face greater pregnancy and labor complications, alterations to the frequency of prenatal visits poses additional risks to the lives of a black mother and child.

Single black working mothers serving as essential workers, may have struggled with juggling work, ensuring their children were attending remote learning, and finding appropriate child care options. In Frankie Robertson’s blog: The Struggle is Real: Working Black Mothers Childcare and Covid-19, explains how working mothers experiencing difficulty finding work-life balance creates a mental health issues and adds additional burden. She tries to ensure her productivity does not suffer and her family’s needs are still met, without help.

These are just some of the major effects of the pandemic, but the virus is still here and is still affecting everyone. However, black female heads of households may have taken a heavier hit than most. What are your thoughts?


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