Stimulus checks, unemployment benefits reduce poverty in 2020

Stimulus checks, unemployment benefits reduce poverty in 2020

People line up at a food delivery site in the South Bronx in New York City on March 10, 2021.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Poverty fell in 2020 thanks to a measure that implemented significant federal aid due to the coronavirus pandemic, including stimulus checks and an increase in unemployment benefits.

According to a report released Tuesday by the US Census Bureau, the so-called additional poverty rate, which adds government assistance to low-income people, fell to 9.1% in 2020 from 11.8% a year. former.

This is its lowest level since it was first published in 2009. The poverty line for a family of four in 2020 was below $ 26,496.

True, the official poverty rate, which does not include any government assistance, rose slightly to 11.4% in 2020, from a record low of 10.5% in 2019, according to the Census Bureau.

Yet a drop in the supplement rate means that government assistance provided during the coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn that followed – the worst since the Great Depression – lifted millions of Americans out of poverty last year.

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What programs lifted Americans out of poverty

Some large programs had the biggest impact on additional poverty rates last year, according to the Census Bureau.

The first two economic impact payments, which included $ 1,200 stimulus checks to millions of Americans last year, lifted 11.7 million people out of poverty, the census estimated.

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