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Census: Relief payments staved off hardship in COVID crash

A second stimulus package could mean another round of Economic Impact Payments for Americans.
A second stimulus package could mean another round of Economic Impact Payments for Americans.(Storyblocks)
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:41 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (AP) - The share of Americans living in poverty rose slightly as the COVID-19 pandemic shook the economy last year, but massive relief payments pumped out by Congress eased hardship for many.

That’s according to the Census Bureau. The official poverty measure showed an increase of 1 percentage point in 2020, indicating that 11.4% of Americans were living in poverty.

It was the first increase in poverty after five consecutive annual declines. But a more complete supplemental measure of poverty, which takes into account income streams such as stimulus payments, actually showed that the share of people in poverty dipped after the aid was factored in.

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