Poverty actually decreased during the pandemic

by Lisa Schliff

Despite a pandemic that caused mass unemployment, new 2020 data from the Census’ Supplemental Poverty Measure shows that poverty actually decreased by 2.6% last year, the largest drop since the measure was created.

How did this happen? Anti-poverty programs such as Social Security, the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, housing assistance, stimulus payments, unemployment and more. These programs lifted millions above the federal poverty line during the worst economic conditions in nearly a century. This is what success looks like.

While this is encouraging news, too many Americans still must fight day and day out just to afford rent, childcare, and food. They shouldn’t have to. Making the recent changes to Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit permanent and expanding housing choice vouchers would be a huge boost for them that would benefit all of us.

I urge our representatives and senators to demand these provisions be included in recovery legislation this fall.

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