Opinion: It's encouraging that reducing child poverty is now a bipartisan aspiration

Author: Leigh Lynes

Thanks to Social Security, the United States has gone a long way toward eliminating poverty among the elderly; the poverty rate for over-65s fell from 28.5 percent in 1966 to 8.9 percent in 2019, according to Census Bureau data, well below the overall national rate. For children, it’s a different story. For the past half-century, the child poverty rate has remained elevated above the national rate, rising from 18 percent in 1966 to a high of 22 percent in 1993, before declining to 14.4 percent in 2019. The latter figure, encouragingly, represented a 47-year low — until the pandemic threw all such progress into doubt. Federal aid to households actually decreased the poverty rate between March and June of 2020, but as certain benefits expired over the summer, millions fell back into poverty, including 2.3 million
children under 17, according to a team of economists from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago.

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