Before the COVID-19 pandemic cost millions of Americans their livelihoods, the U.S. poverty rate had been in decline for years, as the economy continued its recovery from the recession that began in 2008. The 2019 annual poverty rate was 10.5%, the lowest rate since at least 1959. The 2020 poverty rate figures to me much higher.
In 2019, the U.S. poverty threshold was in 2019 set at $26,172 or less for a family of four. There are a range of factors that affect the likelihood that a person will live below the poverty line — including their gender, their race, their education level and that of their parents, their age and health, where they were born, their residency status, and the composition of their family.
24/7 Wall St. analyzed government poverty statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey for 26 selected population groups, including men and women, Hispanic Americans of all races, Black Americans, and white Americans, as well as full-time, part-time, and unemployed individuals.
We also compared poverty rates for people living in the South, Midwest, West, and Northeast parts of the United States. People in certain areas of the country, due in part to those areas’ dominant industries and a number of other factors, are much more susceptible to poverty than those living elsewhere in America. These are the richest and poorest states.
It is important to note that CPS data does not include certain groups. For instance, American Indian and Alaskan Natives, whose poverty rates have been estimated by some organizations at well over 20%, are not on this list.
The pandemic and resulting economic fallout widened the already significant poverty gaps between white Americans and those from minority groups, who were more likely to lose their jobs and less likely to be able to work from home. The gaps similarly likely increased between men and women, who were hit harder but the COVID-19 recession. Children, workers with lower levels of education, part-time workers, and single-mother families were also hit harder by the pandemic.