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U.S. child poverty jumped and incomes fell in 2022 as pandemic benefits end

Child poverty in the United States more than doubled and median family incomes fell last year as government benefits linked to the coronavirus pandemic expired and inflation continued to rise, figures show released Tuesday by the United States Census Bureau.

At the same time, the official poverty rate for blacks fell to its lowest level on record and income inequality declined for the first time since 2007 when looking at pre-tax income. However, income inequality increased when using after-tax income, another result of the end of the pandemic-era tax credit, according to Census Bureau income reports, poverty and health insurance.

The reports reflect the sometimes conflicting factors that have roiled American households over the past year, which have faced a strong job market, with increasing numbers of full-time employees year over year, but also rising inflation and the end of pandemic-era stimulus. .

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government expanded the child tax credit and sent funds to people who suffered from the pandemic, reducing poverty in 2021. The increase in the tax credit for children expired at the end of 2021., and other pandemic-related benefits expired in the last 12 months.

As a result, the supplemental poverty measure rate for children jumped 7.2 percentage points to 12.4% in 2022, according to the Census Bureau.

“This represents a return to pre-pandemic levels of child poverty,” Liana Fox, deputy division chief at the Census Bureau, said at a news conference. “We found that the child tax credit significantly reduced youth poverty.”

In a statement, President Joe Biden criticized congressional Republicans for failing to increase the enhanced youth tax credit and pledged to restore it.

“Today’s reported increase in youth poverty is no accident,” said Biden, a Democrat.

The median family income in 2022 was $74,580, a decrease of 2.3% from 2021. Asians had the highest median family incomes, at nearly $109,000, while blacks had the most low, at around $53,000.

The official poverty rate was 11.5%, and for blacks, 17.1%, the lowest level ever recorded. The additional poverty measure was 12.4%, an increase of 4.6 percentage points from 2021.

The US Census Bureau publishes two measures of poverty. The official measure of poverty is based on monetary assets. The supplemental measure of poverty includes both monetary and non-monetary benefits and subtracts essential expenses such as taxes and medical bills.

The rate of people lacking health insurance fell nearly half a point to 7.9%, and it declined for people in every age group except those who were 18 or less, according to the Census Bureau.


Follow Mike Schneider on X @MikeSchneiderAP.


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