Census Poverty

People ride their bikes past a homeless encampment set up along the boardwalk in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles. The share of Americans living in poverty rose slightly as the COVID pandemic shook the economy last year, but massive relief payments pumped out by Congress eased hardship for many, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Massive government relief passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic moved millions of Americans out of poverty last year, even as the official poverty rate increased slightly, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

The official poverty measure rose 1 percentage point in 2020, with 11.4% of Americans living in poverty, or more than 37 million people. It was the first increase in poverty after five consecutive annual declines.

But the Census Bureau’s supplemental measure of poverty, which takes into account government benefit programs and stimulus payments, showed that the share of people in poverty dropped significantly after the aid was factored in.

The supplemental poverty measure was 2.6 percentage points lower than its pre-pandemic level in 2019. Stimulus payments moved 11.7 million people out of poverty, while expanded unemployment benefits kept 5.5 million from falling into poverty. Social Security continued to be the nation’s most effective anti-poverty program.

“This really highlights the importance of our social safety net,” said Liana Fox, chief of the Census’ poverty statistics bureau.

That finding is likely to resonate in a divided Congress, where President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” domestic agenda faces uncertain prospects. Two anchors of last year’s COVID response — enhanced unemployment benefits and a federal eviction moratorium — have expired, adding to concerns.

The White House quickly took note.

“The key takeaway from this report is the extremely powerful anti-poverty and pro-middle class income impacts of the government response in 2020,” said spokeswoman Emilie Simons. “It isn’t enough to temporarily lift people out of poverty, we need to provide opportunities for working Americans and their families to stay there.”

The Census reports released Tuesday cover income, poverty and health insurance, and amount to an annual check-up on the economic status of average Americans. They are based on extensive surveys and analysis.

(1) comment

Jimzan 2.0

"AP" is Human Scum (IMHO) never forget that. Why is the homeless population increasing? Useful idiots believe what they are told...they are happy as long as their EBT cards recharge at the end of the month. But you have to ask...why did California and New York lose a congressman?...people are fleeing the Cesspools that the Dems create. Instead of focusing on making their communities better...the scumbags focus on cheating, and deceiving. They will never win on the issues...their victories come from buying votes, and deception. You reap what you sow...its coming, you better hold on....and your Mask will not help you.

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