This video is a part of our collection “The Numbers That Outlined 2022.”
One of the crucial necessary numbers of the yr that you just may not have heard of is 7.8 p.c. That’s the share of People who have been residing in poverty in 2021, in line with the most recent supplemental poverty rate, which was launched by the U.S. Census Bureau in September of 2022. This metric, versus the official poverty charge, captures how many individuals reside in poverty after accounting for the affect of key authorities applications focused at low-income households.
Throughout the pandemic, the federal government spent unprecedented funds to assist lower-income households. So this is without doubt one of the first clear measurements we have now of how COVID stimulus influenced poverty in America. And seven.8 p.c is, in truth, the bottom recorded poverty charge on file, because the Bureau began monitoring this metric. Included in that determine is simply 5.2 p.c of American kids who lived in poverty in 2021, a 46 p.c drop from 2020 and in addition the bottom determine we’ve seen.
A variety of the drop in poverty might be ascribed to the federal government’s COVID-19 aid efforts in 2020 and 2021, together with the expanded youngster tax credit score, which helped considerably scale back youngster and total poverty in America by giving low-income households with kids further money. For all that we frequently speak about Congress not with the ability to legislate or being caught in gridlock, it appears clear that it loved probably the most unquestionable coverage victories in latest U.S. historical past: lifting thousands and thousands out of poverty.
However after all, it’s extra difficult than that. For a similar causes that each one that authorities support helped scale back poverty, its absence will seemingly assist deliver poverty again. You possibly can’t completely resolve poverty with a short lived inflow of money.
The final federal COVID stimulus checks went out all the way in which again in March of 2021, and the expanded youngster tax credit score was phased out on the finish of final yr. By early this yr, it appeared that youngster poverty was rising once more, and lots of People reported not with the ability to pay for primary wants. Inflation is part of that — and a few would argue, spurred on by the additional stimulus. And now, rising rates of interest — and the concern of a recession — additionally loom massive for lower-income households.
So whereas simply 7.8 p.c of People residing in poverty counts as a coverage victory, count on that quantity to be larger subsequent yr.
Further details about the SPM chart: The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) estimates for 2019 and past replicate the implementation of revised SPM methodology; extra data is obtainable in “Poverty in the United States: 2021” report from the US Census Bureau, Appendix B. The information for 2017 and past replicate the implementation of an up to date processing system. The information for 2013 and past replicate the implementation of redesigned revenue questions.