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Poverty in the United States fell overall last year due to relief from the pandemic, census shows

WASHINGTON – The number of Americans living in poverty globally declined during the Covid pandemic due to massive stimulus measures passed by Congress at the start of the crisis, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday.

The official poverty rate rose slightly in 2020 to 11.4%, from a record 10.5% in 2019, according to the U.S. census, but that figure mainly reflects cash payments to Americans. After taking into account all government assistance payments, the census supplemental poverty measure showed a drop from 11.8% in 2019 to 9.1% in 2020.

Stimulus payments last year provided cash payments of $ 1,200 to most low- and middle-income Americans, lifting 11.7 million people out of poverty, according to the US census. In addition, 5.5 million people have been prevented from falling into poverty thanks to the increase in unemployment insurance assistance. The poverty line is defined as income of less than $ 26,200 per year for a family of four.

Congress is now working to put more programs in place to help Americans still reeling from the pandemic. The Senate returned on Monday after a month-long hiatus from a busy schedule, including deadlines to keep government open and a $ 3.5 trillion package to extend the social safety net and raise taxes for top earners, as well as to give the final passage to a $ 550 billion infrastructure. invoice.