US Child Poverty Surges by Most on Record Following Expiration of Benefits

(Bloomberg) -- US child poverty surged by the most on record last year following the expiration of unprecedented pandemic-era benefits.

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A supplemental measure of child poverty jumped to 12.4% in 2022, according to Census Bureau data out Tuesday. The metric, which is based on after-tax income and includes government-transfer payments like stimulus checks, more than doubled from a record low in 2021 but remained below pre-pandemic levels.

The latest figures illustrate a worrisome trend for families as prices continue to rise, stimulus payments fade and enhanced food and child-care programs expire. That is stripping many Americans out of the advances seen during the pandemic, and is already contributing to an increase in family homelessness.

The report “highlights that poverty in our country isn’t a personal failing, but rather a policy choice,” Melissa Boteach, vice president for income security at the National Women’s Law Center, said in a statement.

The Census report paints a gloomy picture of Americans’ financial situation, and helps explain why for many people it already feels like a recession even as the economy powers ahead.

The overall supplemental measure of poverty also rose to 12.4%, and inflation-adjusted household incomes fell by the most in over a decade. Estimates for the supplemental measure have been released since 2011 with the data going back to 2009.

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