Americans’ household income fell last year as COVID-19-related lockdowns wreaked havoc on the economy, according to new data from the Census Bureau.
The median household income in 2020 was $67,521, a decrease of 2.9 percent from the 2019 average of $69,560 and the first significant decline since 2011, the census said in its findings published on September 14 (PDF).
Household income includes money from wages or salaries, Social Security, public assistance or welfare payments, interest from savings or bonds, dividends from investments, ex-servicemen’s payments, or unemployment and workers’ compensation, as well as other sources.
Between 2019 and 2020, the real median income for all workers decreased 1.2 percent from $42,065 to $41,535, while the real median income for full-time, year-round workers increased by 6.9 percent from 2019 estimates.
However, the total number of full-year workers declined by 13.7 million between 2019 and 2020, marking the largest year-on-year decline in the number of full-time, year-round workers since 1967.
The total number of people earning has decreased by about 3 million.
Meanwhile, the official poverty rate rose from a 60-year low to 11.4 percent in 2019 from 10.5 percent, the first increase in poverty after five consecutive annual declines.
While the limits to meet the official definition of poverty vary in size and composition, in 2020 the weighted average poverty threshold for a family of four was $26,496.
Last year 37.2 million people were in poverty, 3.3 million more than in 2019, indicating widespread economic stress, with lockdowns imposed on millions of people who were left without work, especially in marginalized communities.
However, government programs designed to help low-income families, such as stimulus checks and $600 weekly unemployment benefits, softened the blow somewhat.
The Supplemental Poverty Measures (SPM), which includes several government aid programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), school lunches, housing assistance, stimulus payments and refundable tax credits, fell 2.6 percent to a 9.1 percent rate. The lowest level since being measured in 2009.
“I think it really shows the importance of the social safety net,” said Lianna Fox, chief of the poverty statistics branch in the Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division at the Census Bureau. “When we see a difference in the official poverty rate and trends with SPM … it’s really an effect of our tax system, it’s an effect of our non-cash benefits.”
Elsewhere, the Census Bureau found that the share of Americans without health insurance was 8.6 percent last year, up from 28 million people. For those with health insurance coverage, 66.5 percent are on private insurance and 34.8 percent are on public plans.
The report comes shortly after more than 7 million Americans lost their pandemic unemployment benefits on Labor Day, including federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – a $300 weekly bonus check, as well as aid for those who would normally are ineligible for unemployment insurance – except those with small payments or nothing.
The White House said the Biden administration said it had no plans to reevaluate or expand unemployment benefits.
While some advocates of the move, including businesses and lawmakers, expect a reduction in benefits will lead to an increase in job applications, opponents fear barriers such as securing childcare and fears surrounding COVID-19 still hinder such efforts. can generate.
President Joe Biden and other Democrats are currently pushing for more investment in programs such as The American Families Plan, which aims to help families cover basic expenses, and the plan to expand significant tax deductions that help lower and lower costs. Benefits middle-income workers and families. , such as the Child Tax Credit.
Reuters contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times