Washington, D.C. — Today, alongside the U.S. Census Bureau’s release of the 2022 poverty data, a new Center for American Progress article examines these new numbers and why they should be concerning but can be reversed if policymakers take strategic action to grow the economy by investing in growing the middle class.
The 2022 poverty data release shows that 11.5 percent of people (37.9 million) lived in poverty under the official poverty measure (OPM), a nonsignificant change compared with 2021’s rate of 11.6 percent. Meanwhile, the supplemental poverty measure (SPM) rate increased to 12.4 percent (40.9 million) from 2021’s historically low rate of 7.8 percent, exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
The increase in poverty rates in 2022 reflects the consequences of policy choices made since the pandemic recovery began. This new article exemplifies how this increase in poverty can be traced back to the expiration of temporary policies that provided greater economic security during 2020 and 2021. It’s up to policymakers to take action now by implementing proven methods that grow the middle class. This article outlines five key actions Congress can take to reduce poverty and hardship, especially for Black people and Latinos who face higher poverty rates. These actions include:
- Expand the child tax credit to help ease financial burdens for struggling families
- Reinstate the enhanced earned income tax credit for adults without qualifying children
- Reform unemployment insurance to better serve the unemployed in good times and bad
- Protect the Thrifty Food Plan’s increase to SNAP benefits
- Raise the minimum wage and eliminate the subminimum wage
“While poverty rose in 2022, there’s time for policymakers to take action to reverse these increased poverty rates. Policymakers must not waste any time in making bold public investments that provide people with the resources they need to strengthen their financial security and grow the middle class. Swift action by policymakers can help millions of more families be better off and reduce poverty across all communities,” said Kyle Ross, research associate for Inclusive Economy at CAP and author of the article.
Read the article: “Poverty Rose in 2022, But Policy Solutions Can Create a More Equitable Economy” by Kyle Ross
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