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Mapping Global Income Support During COVID-19

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Mapping Global Income Support During COVID-19

Income loss has impacted many during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment, reduced hours, office closures, and business shutdowns have prompted the need for mass income support.

Globally, income from work fell $3.5 trillion in the first nine months of 2020, a change of -10.7% compared to the same period in 2019.

In the above map, Our World in Data reveals the different levels of income support provided by governments across the globe.

Income support, in this case, is defined as governments broadly covering lost salaries, or providing universal basic income or direct payments to people who have lost their jobs or cannot work. Levels of income support are changing over time.

Small Government

Many world governments have provided no support when it comes to a universally applicable scheme to cover lost income in their countries.

Examples: (as of January 25th, 2021)

  • 🇻🇪 Venezuela
  • 🇸🇾 Syria
  • 🇧🇾 Belarus
  • 🇧🇩 Bangladesh
  • 🇰🇭 Cambodia

The majority of the governments providing no support are in low to lower-middle income countries. Based on a recent report from the International Labour Organization (ILO), lower-middle income countries have also seen the highest income losses, reaching 15.1% since 2019.

Developing countries tend to experience a significant fiscal stimulus gap, in which they do not have the capacity to cushion lost income or lost jobs. In fact, it’s estimated by the ILO that low and lower-middle income countries would need to inject an additional $982 billion into their economies to reach the same level of fiscal stimulus as high income countries.

A Helping Hand

There are other governments that are giving out some help on a wide-scale basis, providing citizens less than 50% of their lost salaries:

Examples: (as of January 25th, 2021)

  • 🇿🇦 South Africa
  • 🇨🇳 China
  • 🇷🇺 Russia
  • 🇹🇭 Thailand
  • 🇦🇺 Australia

South Africa’s unemployment rate was the highest in the world at 37.0% in 2020, an increase from 28.7% in 2019. Despite having one of the strictest lockdowns, the country has not been able to slow rising case counts or job losses. Now, South Africa is facing another threat, as a new strain of the novel coronavirus has taken hold in the nation.

The Most Supportive Governments

Finally, many world governments have offered higher amounts of income support, providing citizens with more than 50% of lost income:

Examples: (as of January 25th, 2021)

  • 🇨🇦 Canada
  • 🇺🇸 United States
  • 🇬🇧 United Kingdom
  • 🇪🇸 Spain
  • 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia

Regionally, it’s the Americas that have been hit the hardest, according to the ILO. The region experienced a 12.1% drop in labor income in 2020 compared to 2019, revealing the need for broad-based income support.

U.S. unemployment went from 3.7% to 8.9% between 2019 and 2020. While the American government initially provided support in the form of the CARES Act, the policy response was recently extended through the more recent $900 billion relief deal.

Income Support Post COVID-19

While some countries have not been in extreme need of income support, others have been and haven’t received it. When looking at demographics, the hardest hit workers have been temporary workers, migrant workers, care workers, and self-employed vendors who have no labor contracts or employment insurance.

As a result, some critics have used this as an opportunity to call for universal basic income (UBI). A three-year study is already being implemented in Germany, for example, to test out how effective this kind of income support would be in the post-pandemic period.

Today, however, income is not a guarantee, and while in 2021 things may be returning to ‘normal,’ that does not mean that income levels will go back to normal.

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Mapped: The Income Needed to Live Comfortably in Every U.S. State

A single adult needs to make at least $116k annually to live comfortably in Massachusetts.

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This map illustrates the income necessary for an individual to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in each state.

The Income Needed to Live Comfortably in Every U.S. State

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Individuals in the top 11 most expensive states in the U.S. need an annual income exceeding $100,000 to live comfortably.

This map shows how much income single adults need to live comfortably in each U.S. state. SmartAsset calculated the income needed using the cost of necessities sourced from the MIT Living Wage Calculator, last updated on Feb. 14, 2024.

In this case, “comfortable” was defined as the annual income required to cover a 50/30/20 budget, allocating 50% of earnings to necessities such as housing and utility costs, 30% to discretionary spending, and 20% to savings or investments.

Massachusetts Ranks First

Massachusetts is the most expensive state to live comfortably in. A single adult needs to make at least $116,022 annually or $55.78 per hour.

RankStateSalary needed for a single working adult
1Massachusetts$116,022
2Hawaii$113,693
3California$113,651
4New York$111,738
5Washington$106,496
6Colorado$103,293
7New Jersey$103,002
8Maryland$102,918
9Oregon$101,088
10Rhode Island$100,838
11Connecticut$100,381
12Virginia$99,965
13New Hampshire$98,093
14Arizona$97,344
15Georgia$96,886
16Alaska$96,762
17Vermont$95,763
18Illinois$95,098
19Delaware$94,141
20Utah$93,683
21Nevada$93,434
22Florida$93,309
23Maine$91,686
24Pennsylvania$91,312
25North Carolina$89,690
26Minnesota$89,232
27Idaho$88,733
28South Carolina$88,317
29Wyoming$87,651
30Texas$87,027
31Tennessee$86,403
32Indiana$85,030
33Montana$84,739
34Kansas$84,656
35Michigan$84,365
36Wisconsin$84,115
37Missouri$84,032
38Alabama$83,824
39Nebraska$83,699
40New Mexico$83,616
41Iowa$83,366
42Mississippi$82,742
43Louisiana$82,451
44South Dakota$81,453
45Ohio$80,704
45Kentucky$80,704
47North Dakota$80,538
48Oklahoma$80,413
49Arkansas$79,456
50West Virginia$78,790

West Virginia is the least expensive for a single adult, who only needs to make an estimated $37.88 per hour, or $78,790 annually.

To live comfortably on your own in the top five states, a person would need to earn nearly double the typical income for single earners, as the U.S. median income for single, full-time workers is around $60,000, according to Labor Bureau data.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out this graphic, which ranks the income a family needs to live comfortably in every U.S. state.

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