University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Estimating Poverty in the Covid-19 Era

  • Jennifer Romich, Linda Giannarelli, Zachary Parolin, Bradley Hardy, and Pamela McCauley
  • July 15 2020
  • W68-2020

Jennifer Romich

Linda Giannarelli

Zachary Parolin

Bradley Hardy

Pamela McCauley

Jennifer Romich (Host), 
West Coast Poverty Center, University of Washington
Linda Giannarelli, Urban Institute
Zachary Parolin, Center on Poverty and Social Policy, Columbia University
Bradley Hardy (Discussant), School of Public Affairs, American University
Pamela McCauley (Discussant), Minnesota Department of Human Services

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought increases in hardship for many people, but the usual ways we measure poverty don’t offer immediate feedback on the number of people in poverty in the United States. In this webinar, the presenters discuss what can be known in real time or close-to-real time about recent changes in poverty. The discussion focuses on:

  • How did the nature of the pre-Covid economy create risks for poverty?  How do these risks vary across demographic groups and geographies?
  • What likely has happened to poverty rates and what will happen over the next several months as a result of the Covid-19 economic fall-out?
  • To what extent have initial federal policy responses buffered any effects on poverty? (And what factors may be limiting their anti-poverty potential?)
  • What factors and data should researchers, advocates, and policymakers be tracking now and in the coming months?

Recording of Webinar

Highlights from the Webinar

(Clicking on pictures will take you to the webinar recording)

Excluding the impact of the CARES Act, the annual poverty rate, using the supplemental poverty measure, would have jumped from 12.9 percent in March to 16.3 percent in April.
Excluding the impact of the CARES Act, the annual poverty rate, using the supplemental poverty measure, would have jumped from 12.9 percent in March to 16.3 percent in April.


The extended unemployment benefits and stimulus payments in the CARES Act are each much larger than any other federal transfer program, and more money will be spent on these two programs than was spent in 2019 on all federal transfer programs combined.
The extended unemployment benefits and stimulus payments in the CARES Act are each much larger than any other federal transfer program, and more money will be spent on these two programs than was spent in 2019 on all federal transfer programs combined.


The policies responding to COVID-19 reduced the number of people in poverty by 10.3 million, of which 4.3 million are in households that experienced job loss and 6.0 million were in household without job loss.
The policies responding to COVID-19 reduced the number of people in poverty by 10.3 million, of which 4.3 million are in households that experienced job loss and 6.0 million were in household without job loss.


6.3 million people in households that experienced job loss are in poverty despite the COVID-19 response policies, and 57.1 million people in households that experienced job loss would have remained out of poverty without these policies.
6.3 million people in households that experienced job loss are in poverty despite the COVID-19 response policies, and 57.1 million people in households that experienced job loss would have remained out of poverty without these policies.

Categories

Child Poverty, Children, Economic Support, Economic Support General, Employment, Labor Market, Poverty Measurement, State & Local Measures, U.S. Poverty Measures, Unemployment/Nonemployment