© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A homeless person lays in the park with their head covered, during a heatwave in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. July 21, 2022. REUTERS/Allison Dinner
(Reuters) – A key measure of how many Americans lived in poverty in 2021 fell to a record low thanks to federal government payments and other measures aimed at supporting households through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census Bureau said on Tuesday.
The supplemental poverty rate fell to 7.8% in 2021 from an upwardly revised 9.2% in 2020, according to a measure that takes into account government support offered through programs such as food assistance and the stimulus checks.
Many of the extraordinary assistance programs launched to buffer households from the economic harm caused by the pandemic expired over the course of last year, so the report for 2021 is likely to be the last to show the full effect those efforts had on preventing what would likely have been an increase in U.S. poverty levels.
Meanwhile, the official U.S. poverty rate, which does not include the stimulus checks or some other government programs, was little changed at 11.6% in 2021 from an upwardly revised 11.5% in 2020.