Incomes were up and poverty was down across America in 2019 — and then COVID-19 hit

By Alfred Lubrano


Encouraging as it seems, the new Census report is a pretty picture of something that no longer exists. Once more, it seems, 2020 has struck, reversing progress and forestalling hope.

“The year 2019 is in the rearview mirror now,” said Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a director at the Center for Law and Social Policy, an antipoverty nonprofit in Washington. “We obviously hit bumpy terrain. We have to pay more attention to where we are than where we were.”

Social scientists were quick to point out Tuesday that as encouraging as the low 2019 poverty rate is, there might be accuracy problems with it attributable to the pandemic.


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