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Unemployed people speak with hiring representatives during a job fair in Beattyville, Kentucky, on July 28. Photo: Jon Cherry/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pandemic-related government aid programs are projected to cut poverty nearly in half this year from pre-pandemic levels, according to a report by the Urban Institute.

Why it matters: The Urban Institute projects the poverty rate will fall to 7.7% this year from 13.9% in 2018, which will amount to the largest reduction in poverty the U.S. has seen in such a small increment of time.

  • Federal stimulus checks had the largest impact on decreasing poverty, per the report. Had the checks not been issued, the report projects 12.4 million more people would be in poverty in 2021.
  • The benefits have had the most significant impact on Black non-Hispanic people, reducing their poverty rate by about 74%.
  • The government's annual spending on these programs is projected to cost more than $1 trillion, per the New York Times.

By the numbers: The decline is nearly three times the previous three-year record, per a report by researchers at Columbia University.

  • The combined benefits have had the largest impact on children, amounting to a decline of child poverty of 61%.

What they're saying: "The policy response since the start of the pandemic goes beyond anything we’ve ever done, and the antipoverty effect dwarfs what most of us thought was possible," Bob Greenstein of the Brookings Institution said, per the Times.

Conservatives, long critical of government aid, panned the projections.

  • “There’s no doubt that by shoveling trillions of dollars to the poor, you can reduce poverty,” Robert Rector, a researcher at the Heritage Foundation, said, per the NYT.
  • “But that’s not efficient and it’s not good for the poor because it produces social marginalization. You want policies that encourage work and marriage, not undermine it," he added.

Go deeper

Oct 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

Report: U.S. Latinos near 50% homeownership rate

Real estate broker Alex Betances sits in front of a home in Reading, Pa. Photo: Ryan McFadden/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Image

Latinos increased their homeownership rate to nearly 50% in 2020, according to a report from a group monitoring U.S. Hispanic wealth creation.

Why it matters: The Hispanic Wealth Project found that the homeownership rate grew despite the lack of diversified financial assets among Latinos and around 15% who still live below the federal poverty line ($26,500 for a family of four).

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.