Poverty in the United States in 2020 [February 10, 2022]   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the Introduction: "Calendar year 2020 saw the onset of the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic, and an accompanying rise in the 'poverty rate'--the percentage of the population living in poverty (economic hardship characterized by low income). In 2020, approximately 37.2 million people had incomes below the official definition of poverty in the United States, which was an increase from 34.0 million people in 2019. The poverty rate rose to 11.4% from 10.5%. The increase in poverty was especially acute among the population under age 65, whose work statuses were most likely to have been affected by the economic fallout of the pandemic. This report presents a general overview of poverty in the United States. It introduces the concepts and data sources used in defining and measuring poverty. It then offers a historical perspective on poverty at the national level by presenting trend data on the official poverty measure. Next, it focuses on poverty by demographic group, mainly by comparing 2020 estimates with 2019, along four characteristics: [1] family structure, because poverty is defined according to the composition, needs, and resources of families, and because antipoverty interventions have often been targeted to families; [2] age, because age groups vary in the types and sources of income available to them, and because congressional policymaking has often focused on children and the aged population; [3] race and Hispanic origin, because poverty rates among these demographic groups historically have had wide differences; and [4] work status, because economic well-being is typically tied to the current or past work of oneself or one's family members."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R46759
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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