A new study released Wednesday (December 16), found that 7.8 million Americans fell below the federal poverty line since June of this year.
The study conducted by economists at the University of Chicago and University of Notre Dame points to the one-time stimulus payment, rise in new COVID-19 cases, and July 31 expiration of additional unemployment assistance.
In the month of November, the national poverty rate increased from June’s 9.3% to 11.7%.
Researchers in the study say that without the $2.2 trillion CARES Act relief package passed in March, poverty rates would’ve been worse by now.
“The entire decline in poverty through June can be accounted for by the one-time stimulus checks the federal government issued, predominately in April and May, and the expansion of unemployment insurance eligibility and benefits. In fact, in absence of these programs, poverty would have risen sharply,” James X. Sullivan, Bruce D. Meyer, and Jeehoon Han wrote.
The stimulus checks and additional unemployment funds actually helped reduce poverty from 10.9% pre-pandemic to 9.3% from March to May, according to a report by The Hill.
The study comes as congressional leaders struggle to pass a second stimulus package. A two-part $748 billion relief package is currently on the table, and will reportedly include stimulus checks for families and individuals. This winter season has seen a record increase in demand for resources like food banks and toy drives for households hit hard by the pandemic's economic fallout.
If no deal is made, approximately 9.4 million Americans will lose unemployment benefits by the end of the month, according to another study released by JP Morgan Research Institute. Additionally, over 10 million households in the US will face eviction as protections are set to expire in the new year.
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