Year in Review: Needs soar during COVID-19

During January, Focus-19 will feature year-end summaries of 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic had an immediate and lasting impact on community social needs across the U.S. in 2020. Reviewing 10.5 million requests received by 2-1-1 helplines in 28 states during 2019 (blue line in chart) and 2020 (green line), the effect of COVID-19 is clear. These 2-1-1s received 559,158 more requests in March and April 2020 than during the same months in 2019, an increase of 80%. Year-over-year increases in requests remained dramatically higher – by roughly 50% – throughout 2020. Besides quantifying the magnitude of COVID-19’s economic impact in U.S. communities, these data also illustrate the substantially greater workload shouldered by 2-1-1s to respond to heightened community needs. Data are from 211 Counts, a daily tracking system of community needs used by 38 states. The chart shows monthly total phone requests received by 211s in 28 states that have complete data for all of 2019 and 2020: (AL, AR, CA, CT, DE, FL, IA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MN, MO, NC, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, SC, SD, TN, VA, WI, WY). Mouse over each line to see the number of calls received by month and year.

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