Researchers: 8M Additional Americans Have Entered Poverty Since May

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The uptick in poverty has occurred despite an improving job market, The New York Times noted.

Two new studies have found that poverty levels in the U.S. have risen higher than before the coronavirus pandemic began now that aid from the spring has mostly run out, according to The New York Times.

As a result result: “The number of poor people has grown by eight million since May, according to researchers at Columbia University, after falling by four million at the pandemic’s start as a result of a $2 trillion emergency package known as the Cares Act.”

Using a different definition of poverty, researchers from the University of Chicago and Notre Dame found that poverty has grown by six million people in the past three months, with circumstances worsening most for Black people and children.

Significantly, the studies differ on the most recent month: While the Columbia model shows an improvement in September, the Chicago and Notre Dame analysts found poverty continued to grow.

The Times noted that this uptick in poverty “has occurred despite an improving job market, an indiction (sic) that the economy has been rebounding too slowly to offset the lost benefits.”

At its peak in May, the aid kept more than 18 million people from poverty, the Columbia researchers found. But by September, that number had fallen to about four million.

Black people and Latinos are more than twice as likely as white people to be poor, the new data shows. Both minority groups disproportionately work in industries hard-hit by the recession and may face barriers to aid. Black people disproportionately live in Southern states with low benefits, and some Latinos are disqualified because they lack legal status.

Both studies also found child poverty rising at a rapid rate, with an additional 2.5 million children falling below the poverty line since May. Research shows that even short stays in poverty can cause children lasting harm.

Read the full report.


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