Texas-sized differences in rent, food, utility and health needs

Requests to 2-1-1 have increased throughout Texas during COVID-19, but the size of the gains depends a lot on the type of need and region. We examined 1,083,263 requests for assistance with food, rent, utilities and healthcare received by 2-1-1s in Texas during 2020, and compared the average number of requests per day in each county before COVID-19 (January 1 to March 11) and after (March 12th to October 31st). In the maps below, larger circles show counties with greater increases. Counties along the southern gulf coast, and in south Texas along the Mexico border saw the largest increases in utility requests (red circles) and rent assistance requests (blue circles). Requests for healthcare – which include COVID-19-related requests – are shown in yellow and increased most in west Texas near El Paso and the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Food requests (green circles) grew most on the gulf coast from the Houston/Galveston area to the Louisiana state line. The geographic size and large population of Texas make it possible to see regional variation in needs more clearly than in other states. Mouse over each circle to see the county it represents, average daily requests pre- and post-COVID, and the percent change from pre- to post-COVID. Analyses included counties with at least 1 request per day in each category during the pre-COVID period. The maps plot counties in which the increase was at least 100%. Data came from 2-1-1 Counts, a tracking system of community needs used by 2-1-1s in 37 states.

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