In-Depth: Rural areas & minorities hit hardest by inflation

Posted at 2:50 PM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 17:00:52-05

WACO, Texas — You're paying more money these days.

Inflation is up7.5 percent and it's making it difficult for people across the U.S.

"Yeah, I was hoping for a turnaround," said Glen Powell.

Glen and his wife own Christal own Gustine City Cafe.

They opened the cafe in January of 2020, right before the pandemic, in the small town of Gustine.

"Hanging in there so we can be there for the community because they stood behind me," said Powell.

They were not able to receive help from the COVID-19 stimulus payments because they started in 2020.

Under this setback, it's been a struggle since day one.

With inflation, times are becoming more and more difficult.

"We live week to week," said Powell.

Families are paying more for housing and fuel costs, with even fewer funds in some cases to spend at the grocery store, where prices are 6.3 percent higher than they were a year ago, according to the latest inflation data.

Who's at fault?

"I blame Biden," said Powell.

However, is it fair to blame the Biden administration?

"Outside forecasters continue to project that inflationary inflation is expected to decrease and moderate over the course of this year," said Jennifer Psaki, White House press secretary.

Jen Psaki
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Inflation has risen around the world, but the U.S. has seen one of the biggest increases.

46 nations have shown that during the third quarter of 2021, the inflation rate was higher in 39 nations than in the pre-pandemic third quarter of 2019.

Pew research shows that countries big and small, conservative and progressive, are grappling with surging consumer prices, all while trying to recover from the pandemic.

But the U.S. has one of the highest rates, leaving more Americans to pay with more cash.

Why are we paying more?

We have seen disruptions in global supply chains amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Stores have struggled to keep some items on shelves.

Grocery Shopping AP.jpeg
FILE - Consumers shop at a grocery store in Niles, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. A new poll from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that although women generally expect to do more in their household, Americans without children are still more optimistic that they would share responsibilities equally with a partner compared to what parents report actually happens.

Today’s prices are being measured against prices during last year’s COVID-19-shutdowns, and strong customer demands after local businesses began opening for business.

Now, a recent survey by Fidelity’s eMoney Advisor found that the high cost of gas prices is the number one concern for Americans.

The second is being able to pay bills and inflation overall.

For those who live in rural areas, the data shows them to have less money compared to those in urban areas.

Inflation hurts rural households and people of color.

Rural households are paying an average of 5.2 percent more of their post-tax income because of inflation, compared to 3.5% of metropolitan households.

Inflation has hurt lower-income families, families of color, and rural households more than other demographics, according to a Bank of Americaresearch report.

African American, Hispanic, and Latino households spent 7.1 percent of their post-tax income on energy, compared to 5.4 percent spent by other demographics.

12.5 percent of their income was spent on food, compared to 11.1 percent for everyone else.

This includes 4 percent for African American, Hispanic, and Latino groups, compared to 2.9 percent for everyone else.

Rural America has been feeling the affects of workers leaving there jobs. Many business owners are working around the clock to keep things open.

It's a similar story for rural versus urban populations.

These groups have less income, and are therefore more "exposed" to higher inflation, Bank of America said.

Is there an end in sight?

Biden says inflation will ease by the end of the year.

In what seems like a long time from now. President Joe Biden says that Inflation should ease up by the end of the year.

In the meantime, there are people like the Powells that are struggling to make it. Working 7 days a week, with rarely a day off.