Poverty rate increases for first time since 2010

The poverty rate in the United States rose by 4.6 percentage points in 2022, according to new data from the Census Bureau, its first increase since 2010.

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which measures income and benefits plus government programs, such as tax refunds and food stamps, rose to 12.4 percent in 2022.

The data also found that the child poverty rate more than doubled, from 5.2 percent in 2021 to 12.4 percent in 2022, and rates also increased for ages 18 to 64 and people age 65 and older.

President Biden attributed the sharp rise in poverty last year to the end of pandemic-era child tax credit (CTC) expansion.

“Today’s Census report shows the dire consequences of congressional Republicans’ refusal to extend the enhanced Child Tax Credit, even as they advance costly corporate tax cuts,” he said in a statement on Tuesday. “We cut child poverty by nearly half to record lows for all children in this nation largely by expanding the Child Tax Credit. Last year, Congressional Republicans insisted on raising taxes on families with children.”

“The rise reported today in child poverty is no accident — it is the result of a deliberate policy choice congressional Republicans made to block help for families with children while advancing massive tax cuts for the wealthiest and largest corporations. No child should grow up in poverty, and I will continue to fight to restore the expanded Child Tax Credit to give tens of millions of families the tax relief and breathing room they deserve,” Biden added.

Democrats fought unsuccessfully last year to extend an expanded version of the CTC, which expired in December 2021. The CTC boosted the credit eligible parents could receive to $3,000 per child older than 6 and $3,600 per child younger than 6 in 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House had been bracing for a rise in the poverty rate, arguing in a blog post on Friday the increase in poverty was likely to persist absent congressional action to restore the enhanced child tax credit.

In 2022, refundable tax credits moved 6.4 million people out of SPM poverty, down from 9.6 million in 2021, and Social Security moved 28.9 million out of SPM poverty, according to the Census Bureau’s annual report on poverty, income, and health insurance released Tuesday.

The Census also found that the official poverty rate, which does not include government programs, was 11.5 percent between 2021 and 2022 and not statistically different.

Additionally, it found that 92.1 percent of the U.S. population had health insurance coverage for all or part of 2022, compared to 91.7 percent in 2021. It also found that real median household income fell by 2.3 percent from $76,330 in 2021 to $74,580 in 2022.

Updated at 11:40 a.m.

Tags Joe Biden