Dr. James Sullivan, professor of economics and LEO co-founder, has been studying poverty measurements and the well-being of the poor for over a decade with Dr. Bruce Meyer, a professor at the University of Chicago.
When the pandemic hit, they saw an increased need to develop a method to measure poverty in a real-time basis. Sullivan said poverty rates were falling before the pandemic hit, but when businesses began to close in March, Americans saw a huge decline in employment. Then, the CARES Act was signed.
“The benefits that came in through the relief package, more than offset the loss in earnings, and as a result poverty fell,” Sullivan said.
The data shows that the relief package sustained Americans through April, May and June, but then poverty levels began to rise.
"The recent rise in poverty rates completely wiped out the decline in poverty than we saw shortly after the pandemic,” Sullivan said.