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A woman carries a box of food as others wait in line at a food bank in Van Nuys, Calif., in April 2020. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

In one of the worst years ever for the economy and labor market, America's poverty rate dropped, per one measure that takes into account pandemic-era aid, the government said Tuesday.

Why it matters: It underscores the colossal impact stimulus checks, expanded unemployment payments and other benefits had on households in 2020 — even as millions lost jobs. Without them (and other safety nets, like Social Security), the poverty rate jumped for the first time in five years by one percentage point to 11.4%.

The big picture: The poverty rate typically cited each year focuses solely on cash income. But an alternate rate that includes major aid programs took on new significance given the flood of pandemic-era stimulus injected into the economy.

  • That measure fell to 9.1% — the lowest rate since the government started publishing this estimate in 2009.

By the numbers: Stimulus checks lifted nearly 12 million Americans out of poverty, while expanded unemployment benefits lifted over 5 million.

Of note: There was no statistically significant change in the uninsured rate last year from 2018, the data shows. If someone lost their job, they were able to get coverage through Medicaid or other heavily subsidized individual health insurance.

Go deeper

Uninsured rates among Latinos rise

Latinos of all ages were the least insured group in the U.S. last year, according to census data released this week.

By the numbers: 24.9% of working-age Hispanics and 9.5% of those under 18 lacked health coverage in 2020.

Mike Allen, author of AM
19 mins ago - Technology

Axios interview: Facebook to try for more transparency

Nick Clegg last year. Photo: Matthew Sobocinski/USA Today via Reuters

Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, tells me the company will try to provide more data to outside researchers to scrutinize the health of activity on Facebook and Instagram, following The Wall Street Journal's brutal look at internal documents.

Driving the news: Clegg didn't say that in his public response to the series. So I called him to push for what Facebook will actually do differently given the new dangers raised by The Journal.

The Exvangelicals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Even as evangelicals maintain their position as the most popular religion in the U.S., a movement of self-described "exvangelicals" is breaking away, using social media to engage tens of thousands of former faithful.

The big picture: Donald Trump's presidency, as well as movements around LGBTQ rights, #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, drew more Americans into evangelical churches while also pushing some existing members away.