$600 Stimulus Checks Would Not Cover a Family's Average Rent in Any State

Speculation is rife that $600 stimulus checks could be included in the next COVID-19 relief package—however, that would not be enough to cover most people's rent.

The figure is said to be under consideration as lawmakers look to formulate a proposal able to pass both the House and Senate after a prolonged stalemate.

However, separate analysis of the latest American Community Survey from 2017 by Business Insider suggests the sum would not be enough to cover the average rent for an average American family of four in any state.

Using these figures, the research showed the proposed $600 stimulus check would still be $81 short of a month's rent in the most affordable state, West Virginia. In the most expensive state, Hawaii, the difference would be $907.

The disparity was highlighted by Twitter user @wideofthepost on Wednesday, in a post that has been liked more than 17,000 times and shared over 5,000 times.

With a *$600* relief check, you could pay the median monthly rent for January in approximately zero states. pic.twitter.com/DB3CungYQ7

— austerity is theft (@wideofthepost) December 16, 2020

Researchers found wide variations in rents across the states. The highest states to rent were:

  • Hawaii at $1,507
  • DC at $1,424
  • California at $1,358
  • Maryland at $1,311
  • New Jersey at $1,249

The lowest rents were found in:

  • Mississippi at $740
  • Kentucky at $713
  • Arkansas at $709
  • South Dakota at $696
  • West Virginia at $681

Lawmakers are closing in on a $900 billion package that would feature $300-per-week jobless checks and $600 stimulus payments to most Americans, The Associated Press reported Thursday. It is nearly nine months since Congress passed the first COVID relief bill.

At the $600 value, those checks would be worth half of the $1,200 given out under the CARES Act in the spring, and the new value is less than what past polling has indicated most Americans think further direct payments should be.

In August, Gallup polling—conducted between August 3 and 11—showed most people polled said another stimulus check payment should be for $900 or more.

Asked between August 3 and 11, 70 percent of 5,000 respondents said yes when asked: "Do you think the federal government should or should not send another one-time economic impact payment to all qualified adults (a direct payment to all qualified U.S. adults based on income level)?"

Those who thought this were then asked: "How much do you think the maximum payment sent by the federal government to each qualified adult should be?"

Among that group, 66 percent said $900 or more. This compared to 14 percent who said $600 to $899, 16 percent who said $300 to $599 and 4 percent less than $300.

Keys in an apartment door
This file photo shows an apartment maintenance man changes the lock of an apartment after constables posted an eviction order on October 7, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. John Moore/Getty

Local, state and federal eviction bans that gave renters temporary protection in the spring began to lapse this summer.

In September, the Centers for Disease Control stepped in to again ban evictions for most renters. That arrangement is scheduled to end in January.

If it does, up to 8 million tenants will face eviction, with an estimated $32 billion in back rent owed, according to a tracking tool developed by Stout Risius and Ross.

Typically, 3.6 million people face eviction cases every year in the U.S.