The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Income and Poverty

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to dramatic swings in the U.S. labor market and major policy responses. In this time of crisis, it is important to have the latest evidence on how these events are affecting vulnerable populations so policymakers can respond appropriately. Our poverty dashboard reports income and poverty estimates for the U.S., updated monthly to inform these decisions on a near-real-time basis.

Near Real Time COVID-19 Income and Poverty Dashboard

Understanding Progress in the Fight against Poverty

Many well-known and well-documented flaws with the U.S.’s official poverty measure, including a narrow, error-ridden measure of resources and a biased adjustment for inflation, make it a poor indicator of changes in material deprivation over time. The official poverty measure suggests that the poverty rate is the same today as it was 40 years ago. In reality, poverty has declined significantly over this period, but this progress is rarely recognized. Our poverty dashboard shows how simple corrections of the well-known flaws in the official poverty measure result in a very different story about how poverty has changed over time during the period between 1960 and 2017. For more details on how we measure consumption poverty and our latest results see our new Annual Report on U.S. Consumption Poverty: 2018.