One-third of American renters expected to miss August payment

Renters across America are wading into unknown territory. With the lapse of the federal moratorium on evictions that expired July 31 and the end of the $600 per week boost to unemployment benefits, a recent survey reveals the breadth of financial uncertainty now plaguing Americans.

An estimated 27% of adults in the U.S. missed their rent or mortgage payment for July, according to a nationwide survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau weekly over the last three months. Among renters alone, just over one-third (34%) said during the waning days of July that they had little to no confidence that they could make their August rent payment, a stark measure of the ongoing economic devastation for households stretched to the brink by coronavirus pandemic.

The survey registers the deepest uncertainty across the South, where in some states, more than one-third of renters and homeowners said they missed their last rent or mortgage payment and would struggle to meet their obligations for August. In Texas, for example, 39% of renters said they weren’t certain they could pay their rent (or they were sure that they couldn’t). In Oklahoma, doubt has crept up to 43%.