(Bloomberg) – The end of 2020 brought the biggest increase in the poverty rate in the United States since the 1960s, according to a study released Monday.
Economists Bruce Meyer of the University of Chicago and James Sullivan of the University of Notre Dame found that the poverty rate increased by 2.4 percentage points in the second half of 2020, the United States. United continuing to suffer the economic impacts of Covid-19.
This percentage point increase is almost double the largest annual increase in poverty since the 1960s. This means that an additional 8 million people across the country are now considered poor. In addition, the poverty rate for black Americans is estimated to have jumped 5.4 percentage points, or 2.4 million people.
The researchers’ results put the rate at 11.8% in December. As poverty is down from readings of over 15% a decade earlier, new estimates suggest the Census Bureau’s annual tally due in September will be above the last official pre-pandemic level of 10.5% in 2019.
Black Americans were more than twice as likely to be poor as their white counterparts in December – an improvement from the summer months when they were almost three times more likely to live in poverty – but an increase from before the pandemic, when the gap was less than 2 years.
Despite improvements in the overall poverty rate since the mid-twentieth century, black Americans had been about three times more likely to be poor than white Americans for most of the past 60 years. The gap began to narrow after the financial crisis, during the longest economic expansion in history.
These December poverty estimates are based on survey data collected at the end of the month after some government relief measures expired. The researchers found that stimulus checks issued by the federal government in the spring had helped keep the poverty rate from rising even faster.
At the end of December, an additional $ 900 billion in federal humanitarian aid was passed and President Joe Biden is asking Congress for an additional $ 1.9 trillion in stimulus.
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