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Poverty in the United States hit an all-time high before the pandemic recession

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WASHINGTON A record share of Americans lived in poverty, incomes soared and health insurance coverage had changed little in 2019, a government report released on Tuesday showed, although the situation for many has deteriorated as lockdowns pandemics and industry disruptions have thrown away millions. Unemployed.

The share of Americans living in poverty fell to 10.5% in 2019, according to the Census Bureau, down 1.3 percentage points from 2018. This rate is the lowest since the estimates were first released in 1959.

Household income reached its highest level since 1967, at $ 68,700 in inflation-adjusted terms. This change came when workers saw their incomes rise and the total number of people working increased.

Methodological changes made after 2013 also make the comparison of data over time difficult. But even taking these differences into account, the income numbers for 2019 appeared to be the highest on record, according to census estimates.

Interviews for this year’s Income and Poverty Report have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, a census official said. Some economists have warned that the disruptions could have made the data overly bullish.

About 26 million Americans 8% of the population had no health coverage for all of 2019, a slight decrease from the 27.5 million who were not covered in 2018. The change, though small , is notable because 2019 was the first year that Affordable Care coverage was no longer in effect.

A second health insurance survey, which asks Americans if they are covered when they are surveyed, shows a slight increase in the rate of uninsured, from 8.9% in 2018 to 9.2% in 2019 .

The report highlights how strong the labor market and the economy were before the pandemic, after a record expansion that began in 2009. Yet it highlights how, despite these gains, many families have remained vulnerable to a shock as well. important.

Unemployment was around 3.5% before the crisis set in, the lowest in 50 years, and wages were rising steadily. Still, at the end of 2019, three in 10 adults said they couldn’t cover three months of spending with savings or loans in the event of job loss, according to a Federal Reserve survey.

Minority groups experienced a larger drop in poverty in 2019, according to the census report, but also have much higher poverty rates. The poverty rate for whites fell 1 percentage point to 9.1 percent; for Asians, it was down 2.8 percentage points to 7.3%. Black poverty fell from 2% to 18.8%, and Hispanic poverty from 1.8 percentage points to 15.7%.

These figures suggest that many families were still struggling, with state and local lockdowns causing the largest job losses on record, pushing the unemployment rate to 14.7% in April. As unemployment fell to 8.4%, with employers temporarily recalling workers on leave, that left around 10 million fewer people in August than in February.

Members of minority groups have been hit hard by these job losses, as have less educated workers. Economists warn that many layoffs in the service sector could become permanent as casinos, concert halls and hotels struggle to fully reopen as the coronavirus continues to spread.

President Trump, who highlighted the positives in the 2019 economy, is expected to accept the positive news from the Income and Poverty Report. Mr Trumps’ campaign speech emphasizes the idea that his administration has built the strongest economy in world history. Some data contradict this claim: growth rates below historic records and high inequality prevailed before the crisis, and fewer people were participating in the labor market than at the end of the 1990s.

But it’s true that record expansion and a strong labor market were helping workers make significant gains before the pandemic.

Median household incomes for White, Black, Asian and Hispanic households all increased in 2019, adjusting for inflation, as poverty declined among these racial and ethnic groups, according to the census report released Tuesday.

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