WASHINGTON D.C.: This week, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2022, income adjusted for inflation fell, and a key poverty measure rose sharply as the economy continued its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The income and poverty data released by the census also showed that following the end of pandemic-era child tax credits last year, child poverty more than doubled, and the worst inflation in 40 years has significantly reduced household spending.
The census showed that the child poverty rate rose to 12.4 percent in 2022 from 5.2 percent in 2021, while the supplemental poverty rate rose to 12.4 percent in 2022 from 7.8 percent in 2021, mainly driven by the end of COVID-19 pandemic-era support programs.
Compared to 2019, before the pandemic, the overall supplemental rate was slightly higher than the 11.8 percent seen in 2019, while the official poverty rate was mainly unchanged from 2021 at 11.5 percent.
The data could influence voters' choices in the November 2024 elections, when U.S. President Joe Biden aims to win a second term.
However, while the current unemployment rate of 3.8 percent is comparable to the 2019 level, there was a record number of women in the workforce, and a poverty rate among Black Americans, while far higher than the national average at 17.1 percent, hit a record low.
Household income also rose slightly for African-American and Hispanic-headed households despite declining for other ethnic groups.
As lower-income workers registered slight wage rises while real incomes dropped for middle and upper-income earners in 2022, the U.S. reported a 1.2 percent decline in income inequality on a pre-tax basis, the first statistically significant drop in income inequality since 2007.