- Economists Bruce Meyer from the University of Chicago and James Sullivan of the University of Notre Dame found that the poverty rate increased by 2.4 percentage points during the latter half of 2020 as the U.S. continued to suffer the economic impacts of COVID-19. That percentage-point rise is nearly double the largest annual increase in poverty since the 1960s.
- This means an additional 8 million people nationwide are now considered poor. Moreover, the poverty rate for Black Americans is estimated to have jumped by 5.4 percentage points, or by 2.4 million individuals. Black Americans were more than twice as likely to be poor than their white counterparts in December.
- Despite improvements in the overall poverty rate since the middle of the 20th century, Black Americans had been about three times as likely to be poor as white Americans for most of the past 60 years. The gap started to narrow after the financial crisis, during the longest economic expansion in history.
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