(CNN) — The rapid and expansive response of the United States Congress to the coronavirus pandemic last spring prevented millions of Americans from falling into poverty after losing their jobs.
But now that subsidies are gone, the poverty rate has risen in recent months, two new studies show.
The Poverty rate It fell from 11% in February to 9.3% in June, according to research by professors at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago and the University of Zhejiang in China.
The overall decrease could be attributed to one-time federal stimulus checks of up to $ 1,200 for eligible individuals and $ 2,400 for eligible married couples, plus $ 500 for each qualifying child. That money was distributed in the spring.
Lawmakers also enacted a historic expansion of the unemployment program, temporarily expanding it to more unemployed. A weekly boost of $ 600 was added and the duration of subsidies extended. The $ 600 improvement ceased at the end of July.
Congress is still divided by subsidies
As Congress and the White House continue to discuss a new aid package, Democrats and Republicans remain divided.
Without the additional federal aidMore people, particularly blacks, children, and those with a high school education or less, fell into poverty during the summer. The rate rose to 11.1% in September, according to researchers, who have created an almost real-time dashboard.
“Our results show that for low-income individuals and families, the government’s response to the pandemic more than offset the sharp decline in income at the beginning of the pandemic,” the authors wrote. “However, these gains appear to have waned as some of the aid expires.”
These figures differ from the country’s official poverty rate, which is determined by the United States Census Bureau. The 2020 data won’t be released until next year, probably in September.
There was another study: the Center for Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University. It found that stimulus controls and improved unemployment benefits lifted more than 18 million people out of monthly poverty in April.
The expiration of the US $ 600 assistance sent the monthly poverty rate to 16.7% in September, a rate higher than the spring and pre-pandemic levels. Only 4.3 million people were lifted out of poverty last month, mainly through the expansion of the unemployment program to freelancers, the self-employed, independent contractors and certain people affected by the coronavirus.
Without the March aid package, poverty rates would have been higher in the past seven months.
The increases have been particularly severe for black and Hispanic communities, as well as for children, the Columbia study found. The monthly poverty rate for white Americans was 12% in September, but it was 25.2% and 25.8% for black and Hispanic Americans, respectively.