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Monthly poverty rates in the United States during COVID-19

Center on Poverty & Social Policy – “This report presents monthly poverty rates in the U.S. before and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. In contrast to measures of poverty based on a family’s annual resources, we project poverty rates based on a family’s monthly resources. We find that the monthly poverty rate increased from 15% to 16.7% from February to September 2020, even after taking the CARES Act’s income transfers into account. Increases in monthly poverty rates have been particularly acute for Black and Hispanic people, as well as for children.  In April and May, the CARES Act was successful in offsetting potential increases in poverty, but was not successful in preventing a rise in deep poverty, defined as having monthly income lower than half the monthly poverty threshold. Moreover, the CARES Act’s stimulus checks and unemployment benefits lifted more than 18 million people out of poverty in April, but this number fell to around 4 million people in August and September after the expiration of the CARES Act’s $600 per week unemployment supplement.  As a result, the monthly poverty rate in September was higher than rates during April or May, and also higher than pre-crisis levels. Given projections that high unemployment rates may persist throughout the next year, additional income transfers are likely necessary to blunt further increases in poverty…”

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