Poverty rose in 2020 amid pandemic even as stimulus payments helped some 11.7 million Americans avoid it | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Poverty rose in 2020 amid pandemic even as stimulus payments helped some 11.7 million Americans avoid it

The nation's poverty rate rose to 11.4% last year, but the first two rounds of federal stimulus payments helped keep 11.7 million Americans out of poverty, according to Census Bureau data released Tuesday.

The payments, a key part of the unprecedented federal response to the economic havoc wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic, prompted a decrease in an alternative poverty measure to 9.1% in 2020, the Census Bureau said.

Last year was the first time the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which began in 2009, was lower than the official rate. This measure takes into account certain non-cash government assistance, taxes and needed expenses -- addressing a major flaw in the official rate, economists say.

Without the stimulus payments, the alternative measure would have risen by about 3.6 percentage points, Census said. In 2019, the supplemental rate was 11.8%.

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