US poverty declines at record pace despite millions of job losses -- for now

Author: Leigh Lynes

The coronavirus pandemic prompted an unprecedented decline in economic activity, with millions of job losses hitting low-income households particularly hard. But during those challenging times, over 6 million Americans have been lifted out of poverty, thanks to increased government support.

The poverty rate declined by 2.6 percentage points from 10.9% in January and February before the pandemic started to 8.3% in April and May when millions of jobs were already lost due to the outbreak, according to a new paper by the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. In the last 20 years, there’s been only one decline larger than 1 percentage point.

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