This study examines the association of gender, parenthood, and marriage with reports of perceived pandemic precarity among Mexican and Central American immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic (Fall 2020) to understand predictors of vulnerability in periods of crisis.
Latinos/as, immigrants, parents, and women have faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Family structure, along with social expectations for gender (i.e., self-sacrificing femininity for women and hegemonic masculinity for men), parenthood, and marriage may explain perceptions of pandemic precarity—defined as the material deprivation and economic anxiety resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This study used data from the Hispanic COVID-19 Rapid Response Study (n = 400), a follow-up of the VidaSana Study of Mexican and Central American immigrants, to examine how family structure is associated with pandemic precarity (i.e., food, housing, and economic insecurity). Using linear regression models, average marginal effects (AMEs), and tests for group differences, we investigate the independent and interactive effects of gender, parenthood, and marriage on pandemic precarity.
Men and parents reported the highest pandemic precarity. Fathers reported higher pandemic precarity than mothers. For men, marriage is associated with greater precarity, and for women, marriage is associated with less precarity, yet marriage increased precarity for those without children.
We discuss the importance and implications of examining gender along with family structure to understand how immigrant families were faring in response to the pandemic.