This report was updated 11-16-20: missing data were added.
The largest increases in 2-1-1 requests are coming from counties hardest hit by COVID-19. We examined 5.6 million requests to 2-1-1 received from 1,706 counties in 32 states so far during 2020. The chart below shows the 15 counties with the largest increase in average daily requests from pre-COVID (January 1 to March 11) to post-COVID (March 12 to Nov 10). Requests from Polk County, IA (Des Moines) increased by 274% from pre- to post-COVID, followed by Honolulu County, HI (224%), Middlesex County MA (223%), Santa Clara County, CA (+219%), and Prince George’s County, MD (+216%). Most striking is that six of the 10 counties with the largest increases in 2-1-1 requests also had the most COVID-19 cases in their state, the highest rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the state, or both, according to CDC data. They were Polk, Honolulu, and Prince George’s Counties, as well as Middlesex and Suffolk Counties in MA, and Minnehaha County in SD. Although 2-1-1s were involved in the state response to COVID-19 in 5 of these 6 counties, only in IA was 2-1-1 officially designated at the state contact for COVID-19 requests. This suggests that the increase in requests may be driven more by financial strain and social needs than COVID-related requests. Data were obtained from 2-1-1 Counts. The chart shows the 15 counties with the largest increase among counties receiving at least 25 requests per day, pre-COVID. Mouse over each bar to see pre- and post-COVID daily averages and percent increases.