Evaluating the Impact of COVID-19 on Auto Access Among Vulnerable Populations

Research Team: Evelyn Blumenberg (lead) and Jacob Wasserman

UC Campus(es): UCLA

Problem Statement: The vast majority of low-income households in California own and travel by automobile and have also been the hardest hit by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Automobile ownership for the poor can lead to positive outcomes, including employment, higher wages, and greater access to high-quality places to live. But the current crisis is likely saddling low-income families with untenable debt, which for some households may result in the loss of household vehicles.

Project Description: Using historical and current data from the University of California Consumer Credit panel (which includes data on consumer credit, debt, and income for California households), this research will examine changes in patterns of automobile indebtedness and loan delinquency over the past decade as the state emerged from the Great Recession. It may also be possible (at a later date) to link data used for this analysis with other state administrative data, for example data on employment and/or vehicle registrations.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $80,000