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A Report Based on Surveys of Immigrants in New Jersey During the COVID-19 Pandemic


This study seeks to quantify the economic loss experienced by immigrant New Jerseyans and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their wellbeing during the first six months of the pandemic. It is an update to Make the Road New Jersey’s April 23, 2020 report “Essential and Excluded: Immigrants in New Jersey under COVID-19,” which surveyed 224 immigrant New Jerseyans.

Key Findings:

Economic Insecurity: an overwhelming number of respondents reported deep economic insecurity and job loss, and an inability to pay for basic necessities such as medicine, food and electric bills. An increasing number of survey respondents – nearly all – have experienced job loss or a reduction in work hours and income

  • 81% live in household where a member of the household lost their job during the pandemic, a number which has increased since April, when approximately 71% of respondents had experienced job loss in their household.  In addition, 88.1%  reported they or a household member have lost income or hours of work during the pandemic.

As undocumented immigrants are ineligible for unemployment and stimulus payments, this means that a significant number of respondents were without income. This translated into inability to pay for basic necessities:

  • 83.4% were worried about being able to pay the light bill.
  • 85.3% were worried about being able to pay for food for themselves or their families.
  • 77.3% were worried about being able to buy medicine for themselves or for their families.

Housing: A Looming Eviction Crisis with Little Aid

  • Respondents expressed deep concern over the ability to pay rent. One in four respondents owed at least 4 months rent or mortgage payments. 81.1% were concerned they would not be able to pay the next month’s rent.
  • Disturbingly, 1 in 8 tenants experienced harassment at the hand of their landlord during the pandemic, and despite the fact that there is a moratorium on evictions in New Jersey, at least one respondent was evicted from her home during the pandemic.

Lack of Workplace Safety for Essential Workers

  • An alarmingly high number of respondents — two in three that have worked throughout the pandemic — reported feeling unsafe at work. In contrast, only 13.7% reported feeling safe at work.

To read the full report: click here.

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