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How the Economy Is Doing in 30 Coronavirus Hot Spots

Joel Anderson
·9 min read
Beautiful cloudy day of Los Angeles downtown skyline and palm trees in foreground.
Beautiful cloudy day of Los Angeles downtown skyline and palm trees in foreground.

America is reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with people everywhere facing difficult choices about how to balance their health with the economic needs of their families. However, the twin threats of the crisis — the virus itself and the financial catastrophe of being unable to work — have hit different places in different ways. Depending on where you live, a coronavirus outbreak can land with much greater force on the local economy.

To help illustrate this, GOBankingRates looked at the 30 counties with the most cases of coronavirus in the United States to measure how severe the accompanying economic decline really is. The study lays out where each county stands in terms of the unemployment rate and the percentage of families living there who are having trouble paying the rent or putting food on the table.

So which counties already struggling with an outbreak also are dealing with serious financial pain? Here’s a look at the counties that are stuck between a rock and a hard place and looking for a way out.

Last updated: Nov. 13, 2020

High angle view of Lower Manhattan cityscape - Chinatown, New York, USA.
High angle view of Lower Manhattan cityscape - Chinatown, New York, USA.

New York County, New York

  • Population: 1,632,480

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 35,897

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 2,199

  • Unemployment rate: 10.9%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 8.3%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 8.3%

Memphis, Tennessee skyline at dusk
Memphis, Tennessee skyline at dusk

Shelby County, Tennessee

  • Population: 937,005

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 36,855

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,933

  • Unemployment rate: 9.9%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 10.2%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 8.6%

Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania

  • Population: 1,575,522

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 38,334

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 2,433

  • Unemployment rate: 11.7%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 8.1%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 9.4%

Yonkers, New York with the Hudson river in the foreground.
Yonkers, New York with the Hudson river in the foreground.

Westchester County, New York

  • Population: 968,815

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 40,322

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 4,162

  • Unemployment rate: 7.0%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 8.3%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 8.3%

A long exposure of the Detroit skyline as seen from across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
A long exposure of the Detroit skyline as seen from across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Wayne County, Michigan

  • Population: 1,761,382

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 40,396

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 2,293

  • Unemployment rate: 12.8%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 10.8%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 13.7%

El Paso County, Texas

  • Population: 837,654

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 42,332

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 5,054

  • Unemployment rate: 8.7%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 6.4%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 12.5%

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA downtown city skyline on Lake Michigan at twilight.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA downtown city skyline on Lake Michigan at twilight.

Milwaukee County, Wisconsin

  • Population: 954,209

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 42,776

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 4,481

  • Unemployment rate: 7.3%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 6.8%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 6.9%

Florida
Florida

Orange County, Florida

  • Population: 1,321,194

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 45,494

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,443

  • Unemployment rate: 10.4%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 6.9%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 12.9%

Salt Lake City skyline
Salt Lake City skyline

Salt Lake County, Utah

  • Population: 1,120,805

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 45,969

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 4,101

  • Unemployment rate: 5.2%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 4.3%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 6.6%

Tampa Florida River Boat
Tampa Florida River Boat

Hillsborough County, Florida

  • Population: 1,378,883

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct.17): 47,371

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,435

  • Unemployment rate: 6.2%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 6.9%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 12.9%

More Struggles: People in These States Are Having the Hardest Time Paying Rent

Montauk-New-York
Montauk-New-York

Suffolk County, New York

  • Population: 1,487,901

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 48,829

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,282

  • Unemployment rate: 6.2%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 8.3%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 8.3%

The sunset at the Long Beach, Long Island.
The sunset at the Long Beach, Long Island.

Nassau County, New York

  • Population: 1,356,564

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 49,496

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,649

  • Unemployment rate: 6.6%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 8.3%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 8.3%

Palm Beach Florida climate change
Palm Beach Florida climate change

Palm Beach County, Florida

  • Population: 1,446,277

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 51,172

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,538

  • Unemployment rate: 7.0%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 13.3%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 15.5%

Aerial view of Harbor Drive flanked by highrise hotels and condominiums to the right and the San Diego Convention Center, home to Comic Con, to the left.
Aerial view of Harbor Drive flanked by highrise hotels and condominiums to the right and the San Diego Convention Center, home to Comic Con, to the left.

San Diego County, California

  • Population: 3,302,833

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 55,210

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 1,672

  • Unemployment rate: 9.0%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 6.0%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 10.6%

Horace Mann School
Horace Mann School

Bronx County, New York

  • Population: 1,437,872

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 55,213

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,840

  • Unemployment rate: 18.8%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 8.3%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 8.3%

GLOBE LIFE PARK, ARLINGTON TEXAS USA, 5-1-2020: A 270-acre mixed-use complex that includes Texas Live!, a unique entertainment district with restaurants, retail and entertainment venues.
GLOBE LIFE PARK, ARLINGTON TEXAS USA, 5-1-2020: A 270-acre mixed-use complex that includes Texas Live!, a unique entertainment district with restaurants, retail and entertainment venues.

Tarrant County, Texas

  • Population: 2,019,977

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 58,255

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 2,884

  • Unemployment rate: 7.8%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 4.2%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 8.3%

Bright and colorful image of residential area in Anaheim, Orange County, California.
Bright and colorful image of residential area in Anaheim, Orange County, California.

Orange County, California

  • Population: 3,164,182

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 59,980

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 1,864

  • Unemployment rate: 9.0%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 9.7%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 13.5%

San Bernardino is a city located in the Riverside–San Bernardino metropolitan area and that serves as the county seat of San Bernardino County, California, United States.
San Bernardino is a city located in the Riverside–San Bernardino metropolitan area and that serves as the county seat of San Bernardino County, California, United States.

San Bernardino County, California

  • Population: 2,135,413

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 63,637

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 2,980

  • Unemployment rate: 10.3%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 7.2%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 11.6%

Be Aware: A Coronavirus Downturn Will Hurt These 50 Housing Markets the Most

San Antonio, Texas, USA - April 14, 2013: Tourists riding in tour boat and eating at restaurants along The Riverwalk in San Antonio Texas.
San Antonio, Texas, USA - April 14, 2013: Tourists riding in tour boat and eating at restaurants along The Riverwalk in San Antonio Texas.

Bexar County, Texas

  • Population: 1,925,865

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 64,941

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,372

  • Unemployment rate: 8.1%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 6.4%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 12.5%

Mission Inn, Riverside, CA.
Mission Inn, Riverside, CA.

Riverside County, California

  • Population: 2,383,286

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 66,993

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 2,811

  • Unemployment rate: 10.5%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 7.2%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 11.6%

Check Out: These States Have the Best Chance To Bounce Back From the Coronavirus Unemployment Tsunami

Williamsburg Brooklyn New York City
Williamsburg Brooklyn New York City

Kings County, New York

  • Population: 2,600,747

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 74,903

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 2,880

  • Unemployment rate: 14.1%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 8.3%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 8.3%

Wear a Mask or Pay a Fine: This Is What Cities Are Charging

Queens New York
Queens New York

Queens County, New York

  • Population: 2,298,513

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 76,523

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,329

  • Unemployment rate: 13.8%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 8.3%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 8.3%

Welcome to Las Vegas sign in Nevada
Welcome to Las Vegas sign in Nevada

Clark County, Nevada

  • Population: 2,141,574

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 79,782

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,725

  • Unemployment rate: 14.8%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 8.3%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 13.6%

Fort Lauderdale Florida climate change
Fort Lauderdale Florida climate change

Broward County, Florida

  • Population: 1,909,151

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 84,338

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 4,418

  • Unemployment rate: 8.3%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 13.3%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 15.5%

Night lights fill the sky and reflect in the water under the bridge in Dallas, Texas.
Night lights fill the sky and reflect in the water under the bridge in Dallas, Texas.

Dallas County, Texas

  • Population: 2,586,552

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 93,939

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,632

  • Unemployment rate: 8.3%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 4.2%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 8.3%

An aerial view of a Phoenix, Arizona freeway during rush hour shot from an altitude of about 1500 feet during a helicopter photo flight using a wide angle lens.
An aerial view of a Phoenix, Arizona freeway during rush hour shot from an altitude of about 1500 feet during a helicopter photo flight using a wide angle lens.

Maricopa County, Arizona

  • Population: 4,253,913

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 155,458

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,632

  • Unemployment rate: 6.3%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 6.1%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 8.1%

Houston, Texas, USA downtown city skyline and park at dawn.
Houston, Texas, USA downtown city skyline and park at dawn.

Harris County, Texas

  • Population: 4,602,523

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 159,272

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,461

  • Unemployment rate: 10%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 5.8%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 13.6%

Chicago Cityscape from Chicago River Waterfront at Dusk.
Chicago Cityscape from Chicago River Waterfront at Dusk.

Cook County, Illinois

  • Population: 5,223,719

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 178,832

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 3,423

  • Unemployment rate: 12.4%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 8.5%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 10.8%

Fishing pier at South Pointe Park and view of skyscrapers in Miami Beach, Florida.
Fishing pier at South Pointe Park and view of skyscrapers in Miami Beach, Florida.

Miami-Dade County, Florida

  • Population: 2,715,516

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 183,250

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 6,748

  • Unemployment rate: 13.0%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 13.3%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 15.5%

Los Angeles, California, USA - September 12, 2018: Aerial view on the Santa Monica amusement park with roller coaster and ferris wheel near Venice beach in Los Angeles, California.
Los Angeles, California, USA - September 12, 2018: Aerial view on the Santa Monica amusement park with roller coaster and ferris wheel near Venice beach in Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles County, California

  • Population: 10,098,052

  • Number of COVID-19 cases (Oct. 17): 302,077

  • Cases per 100,000 people: 2,991

  • Unemployment rate: 15.1%

  • Households experiencing housing insecurity: 9.7%

  • Households experiencing food scarcity: 13.5%

More From GOBankingRates

Jordan Rosenfeld contributed to the reporting for this article.

Photo disclaimer: Photos are for illustrative purposes and depict one major city in each county.

Methodology: In order to understand how the economy is doing in major coronavirus hot spots around the country, GOBankingRates first identified the 30 counties in the U.S. with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to USA Facts data published on the Center for Disease Control’s COVID Data Tracker. Then, GOBankingRates found each county’s (1) total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, (2) total population according to the Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey 5-year estimates, and (3) June 2020 unemployment rate according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In order to provide a fuller picture of the local economy, GOBankingRates referenced the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ information on statistical area designation to find each county’s corresponding Metropolitan Statistical Area. For each MSA, GOBankingRates then found (4) the percent of households that reported experiencing housing insecurity as of the week of July 16-21, (5) the percent of households that reported experiencing food scarcity as of the week of July 16-21, and (6) the most up-to-date available data (June or July 2020) on the year-over-year percent change in the Consumer Price Index. Factors (4) and (5) were sourced from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, while factor (6) was sourced from the BLS. Regional or state-level data was supplemented for select counties for which corresponding MSA data was unavailable. Counties are in order of the lowest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to highest. All data was collected on and up to date as of Aug. 17, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How the Economy Is Doing in 30 Coronavirus Hot Spots