Poverty rates continue to rise as virus relief talks fall through

Studies show Black and Latinos are impacted the most.

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A new study conducted by the University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, and Zhejiang University in China say the poverty rate fell from 11% in February to 9.3% in June. That drop may have been due to Congress’ coronavirus relief package in the spring, which gave American taxpayers a one-time check of $1200 for singles, $2,400 for legally married couples, and $500 for each dependent child. But per CNN, for many, the extra funds have dried up.

Pulling the extra $600 placed the poverty rate at 16.7% in September. That rate is higher than it was in the spring and before the pandemic.

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“Our results show that for low-income individuals and families, the government response to the pandemic more than offset the sharp decline in earnings early on in the pandemic,” said the authors. “However, these gains appear to have faded as some of the benefits expire.”

These results are of an independent study and have no relation to the US Census Bureau’s data on poverty which should be released in September of 2021.

Salvation Army Distributes Masks To Homeless Community In New York City
People wait in line for lunch and a free face mask at a Salvation Army Community Center on August 10, 2020 in New York City. The masks, which are washable and were donated by the company HALO, were given out to individuals during the daily free lunch at the center. Currently, The United States has now surpassed 5 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of Sunday. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Black people, children, and people with only a high school diploma or less sunk into poverty over the summer. According to a study by Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy, as reported by CNN, the stimulus checks and additional unemployment benefits helped get 18 million people out of poverty. Those who were eligible to collect unemployment saw an increase of $600 a month but that extra benefit ended in July, leaving many recipients in a hole financially.

The Columbia study also found that white Americans’ monthly poverty rate was 12% in September, but for Black and Latino Americans it hovered between 25.2% and 25.8%.

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