Half of California adults with the lowest incomes experienced long COVID

New data from the California Health Interview Survey reveals significant difficulties among adults with the lowest incomes

Media Contact:
UCLA CHPR Communications Team

About 29% of all California adults who tested positive for COVID-19 experienced symptoms for two months or longer, according to July 2023 data from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research’s California Health Interview Survey (CHIS).

However, when examining differences by income level, the survey revealed that California adults with the lowest incomes were twice as likely as adults with the highest incomes to experience these long COVID symptoms: 50% of adults with incomes 0–99% of the federal poverty level (FPL) compared to 22% of adults 300% FPL and above.

The federal poverty level, a measure of income issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is $14,580 for individuals, $19,720 for a family of two, and $30,000 for a family of four in 2023.

About 12% of all California adults had difficulties with paying their rent or mortgage. Adults with the lowest incomes were more likely to experience these financial difficulties: 1 in 4 — or 25% of — adults 0–99% FPL and above, four times the percentage of adults 300% FPL and above (6%).
Additionally, nearly 1 in 5 — or 19% of — adults 0–99% FPL quit their jobs to take care of themselves or a family member due to COVID-19 illness, compared to 4% of all California adults.

The latest update to the 2023 CHIS COVID-19 Preliminary Estimates Dashboard, which adds responses from 3,147 adults (18+) and 621 children and teens, builds on previously released data collected from March through June of this year.

Other topics available in the July 2023 dashboard include: COVID-19 testing, vaccination status, views about the vaccine and booster, access to high-grade masks, and various personal and financial impacts.