You may have heard of food insecurity, a term that means not having consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Energy insecurity is a similar idea that’s used to describe someone who has trouble paying to heat, cool and power their home.

It was already a problem for many low-income Americans before the COVID-19-induced recession. And now even more households are struggling to keep the lights and air conditioner on, according to a recent survey by Indiana University’s Sanya Carley and David Konisky.

As parts of the U.S. experience heat waves that highlight the issue’s urgency, the energy scholars have some ideas about what government can do to help.

Also today:

Jennifer Weeks

Environment + Energy Editor

The COVID-19 recession has made it harder for many Americans to pay their energy bills. Getty Images

Energy is a basic need, and many Americans are struggling to afford it in the COVID-19 recession

Sanya Carley, Indiana University; David Konisky, Indiana University

Many Americans had trouble paying their energy bills before COVID-19, and the current recession is making the problem worse.

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  • Parents with children forced to do school at home are drinking more

    Susan Sonnenschein, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Elyse R. Grossman, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

    The stress of having children do distance learning at home during the pandemic is linked to an increase in alcohol consumption among parents, a new survey finds.

  • Business major fails to attract Latino students

    Kevin Singer, North Carolina State University; Alyssa N. Rockenbach, North Carolina State University; Laura S. Dahl, North Dakota State University; Matthew J. Mayhew, The Ohio State University

    Not many Latino students major in business. A researcher explores the reasons why.

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