How has COVID affected poverty in the USA?

By: Caelyn Hippen

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As you can see, COVID-19 has affected our world in many ways, such as the school systems, the economies, social interaction has lacked for many people, the amount of people with depression and anxiety has increased, material shortages across the world, effects on hospitals and health care systems, and on top of that, over 6 million deaths worldwide.

But many don’t think of the way that COVID has affected the amount of poverty in the USA. So you may be wondering, what is poverty? Well, poverty is the state of having few material possessions and/or little to no income. Poverty makes it hard for people to eat, and take care of themselves and/or their possible siblings or children. People who have lived in poverty for a longer amount of time find it harder to find jobs, leading to even less income and amount of luxury than before.

Poverty got really bad over COVID, and a contributing factor of that was another downfall of COVID: the spiking amount of unemployment. Over 18 million people were left unemployed, and 14 million of them couldn’t work because their employer closed their business altogether.

Unemployment is such a big factor in people living in poverty. About 20% of people who make minimum wage live in poverty, because the demands for all survival needs are high (food, clean water, a place to live, etc.).

In 2019, the poverty rate in the USA was 13.4%. This means that 13.4% of America’s population lived below the poverty line.

But, as of 2021, that number has been raised to a pandemic-era high of 17.3% of people. In Minnesota, over 500,000 people live in poverty. That’s 1/10 of the population!

So, for that reason, knowing how many people are struggling with finance and buying necessary items, donate and volunteer to help these people around you. You can make a big difference in your community by donating food, money, or just 1 hour from your day!

For more information, please visit:

  • PBS.com

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