The USA poverty rate is on the rise for the first time in over a decade. A recent report from the U.S. Census Department, a key agency of the American federal statistical system, revealed that the poverty rate climbed to 12.4% in 2022. This means that millions of people lived without the essential resources to meet their basic needs.
Even more alarming is the fact that the child poverty rate has doubled compared to 2021. Over 12% of American children lived in poverty last year. This dramatic increase was described as “shocking” by Sharon Parrott, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
One of the main reasons for this surge was identified as the termination of the extended federal tax credit for children in 2022. Parrott has urged lawmakers to reintroduce this benefit, emphasizing its crucial role in supporting low-income families.
U.S. poverty rate: things are getting worse
Timothy Smeeding, an expert on poverty thresholds and a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, confirmed the worsening of child poverty. Meanwhile, Dave Waddington, head of the social, economic, and housing statistics division of the Census Bureau, suggested that the end of pandemic-related aids might have contributed to the rise.
Zachary Parolin, a professor at Columbia University, highlighted how measures like child tax credits and extended unemployment benefits helped keep poverty levels low during 2020 and 2021. However, after three years of historically low poverty rates, the trend has reversed.
The current upward trend in poverty confirms predictions made by many experts in previous years. Moreover, the American economy appears to be approaching a recession, as highlighted by prominent figures like former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and economist Nouriel Roubini. The latter warned that the recession could be “long and severe,” bringing further challenges for Americans already grappling with poverty.
In conclusion, the United States is facing a growing poverty crisis, with a particular emphasis on the vulnerability of children. It is vital that measures are taken to reverse this trend and provide support to struggling families.