A second round of stimulus checks and renewed unemployment benefits lifted 1.6 million Americans out of poverty last month, marking the first drop in poverty after six straight months of increases during the pandemic.
The poverty rate fell to 11.3% in January, after reaching its pandemic peak of 11.8% in December. The decline was largely the result of relief provisions included in the December $900 billion stimulus package, such as the $600 stimulus checks, the extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits, and the renewal of two other jobless programs, a new study from the University of Chicago and Notre Dame found.
"That's a pretty big move over the course of one month," University of Notre Dame's James Sullivan and one of the authors of the study told Yahoo Money. "In response to the government issuing a new round of stimulus payments and reviving the supplemental employment insurance, we now see that poverty is starting to fall."