Providers Household Pulse Survey: December 2023
The following insights come from a <10-minute multiple choice and open response survey conducted by Providers. This month, responses came from 3,229 randomly selected households out of over 5M Providers users from December 1 - December 14, 2023. All respondents are EBT cardholders.
Households with children are experiencing high levels of financial insecurity during the holiday season.
Households with children are far more likely to be paying their rent and utility bills late or not in full.
70% of households with children have less than $25 on hand, compared to 62% of households without children.
63% of respondents with children believe the money they have on hand will only last 1-2 days, compared to 47% of those without children.
“When my husband gets his bonus, on Christmas Eve, we’ll be able to Christmas shop for our two boys. Until then only the bills are getting paid with nothing left barely even for food.” – Providers user, MS
“[I’ll] probably [be] taking out a loan to pay for Christmas. Since their dad passed, it has been hard to save money, so I’m just looking to spend time together with them.” – Amber, FL
“This is the first year I'm unable to buy gifts for my daughter & have had to ask for charity from others, strangers even, in order to give her a Christmas this year. I'm honestly looking forward to it being over as it's extremely stressful when you're a struggling single parent barely scraping by each month with zero extra & actually probably still owe something that had to be skipped for that month.” – FD, MI
Food insecurity is down to the lowest levels since pandemic-era expanded benefits ended, but more Providers users are visiting food pantries than ever before.
33% of respondents visited a food pantry at least once in the last month – an all-time high since the survey began in September 2020 and a 43% increase from last December.
The share of users who reported skipping meals, eating less, and relying on others for meals all dropped between November and December.
Still, year-on-year the percentage of users skipping meals and eating less has increased by 29% and 34%, respectively, while those relying on family or friends for meals has surged by 63%
“If it wasn't for food pantries and charities I wouldn't have Christmas dinner.” – Linda, OH
“I'm looking forward to the holidays but it gets sad that I don't have enough money to buy the things I like for myself…and food as well because I don’t get enough of EBT every month. But I am grateful for getting something but it gets difficult…once I pay all my bills and get the important things. I wish I got more SNAP.” – Dez, CA
Housing instability improved slightly and utility shut-offs are down.
The share of respondents in unstable housing (e.g motel, car, or shelter) fell 8% to 12% overall.
The share of respondents who don’t think they’ll be able to stay where they currently are dropped 8% to 4.4% overall.
The share of respondents who had their utilities shut off in the last month dropped 6% to 10% overall.
“I finally have a Section 8 Voucher & am moving into an actual home. (& not just in a friend's basement without a kitchen). I'm spending my holiday being thankful & baking!!” – CJ, NE