Effectiveness of aid to Americans during crisis puts pressure on Joe Biden

Social programs and tax assistance decided by Democrats and Republicans in Congress and Donald Trump at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic have made it possible to bring down the poverty rate in 2020 after transfers to the United States from 11.8% at 9.1%, a historic low. Median after-tax income, for its part, increased by more than 4% to reach 62,800 dollars (53,200 euros). These are the conclusions of the annual study by the United Census Bureau, which presented its results on Tuesday, September 14.

This publication comes as unemployed Americans no longer have the right, since the beginning of September, to federal allowances of $ 300 per week and Joe Biden is struggling to get Congress to adopt a huge plan of $ 3.6 billion. social measures dollars.

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Poverty rate at an all-time low

Other figures are less rosy than those mentioned above: the median US income, which is usually used as a benchmark, fell 2.9% to $ 67,500 (it had jumped 6.8% the previous year). Unemployed Americans paid the bill, as the income of full-time workers rose nearly 7%.

The differences between ethnic groups remain impressive, but they have narrowed: $ 45,870 for blacks (- 0.3%), 55,321 for Hispanics (- 2.6%), 74,912 for whites (- 2.7 %) and 94,903 for Asians (- 4.5%).

However, in this particular year, these figures have the drawback of not taking into account the checks sent by the tax authorities and other aid in kind. These nudges resulted in a median net after-tax income of $ 62,800, up 4% year-on-year.

Logically, the Gini index, which measures inequalities, increased slightly before taxes (0.489 against 0.484), but fell significantly after deductions (0.428 against 0.442). The same is true of the poverty rate. Defined absolutely, roughly fixing what it takes to survive, it fell from 10.5% to 11.4% after five years of decline.

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The threshold is set uniformly for the entire United States at $ 26,246 per year for a family with two children: by this yardstick, 37.2 million Americans were poor in 2020, up from 3.2 million ( 19.5% of Blacks, 17% of Hispanics and about 8.1% of Whites and Asians). But if we take into account in-kind aid and adjustments made for the cost of living and the expenses necessary for work or childcare, the poverty rate has fallen to an all-time low of 9.1. %.

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