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US poverty hit a record low before the pandemic recession

<p>The average American renter spends <a href="https://www.fool.com/millionacres/real-estate-market/articles/americans-spend-much-their-paychecks-housing-how-do-you-compare/">31.2% of their income on housing</a>, an all-time high that’s exacerbated by the fact that more than <a href="https://www.policylink.org/data-in-action/overview-america-working-poor">12 million people in the U.S. live in poverty despite working full-time</a>. The coronavirus has deepened America’s housing crisis by leaving tens of millions without jobs and <a href="https://thestacker.com/stories/4354/how-apply-rent-relief">facing potential eviction</a>.</p> <p>Three things happened this summer to aggravate the situation even further. An emergency federal eviction moratorium expired; federal supplementary unemployment aid expired; and Congress failed to agree on another round of stimulus aid.</p> <p>The result is a looming housing crisis, the size and severity of which is difficult to overstate. As many as 40 million renters could be at risk of eviction in the coming months, <a href="https://www.aspeninstitute.org/blog-posts/the-covid-19-eviction-crisis-an-estimated-30-40-million-people-in-america-are-at-risk/">according to the Aspen Insitute.</a> The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued a <a href="https://www.cnet.com/personal-finance/national-eviction-moratorium-comes-from-the-unlikeliest-of-places-what-you-need-to-know/">nationwide moratorium</a> on evictions through the end of 2020, but it comes with stipulations and requires struggling tenants to advocate for themselves.</p> <p>Some states have created extra protections for renters, while many have not. Of the states that have their own state-mandated bans on evictions, many protections are ending soon. In many cases, however, the damage has already been done: Struggling American renters by midsummer had already amassed more than <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-housing-evictions/u-s-renters-owe-21-5-billion-in-back-rent-republicans-offer-no-eviction-relief-idUSKCN24U394">$21 billion in back rent</a>. A crisis is brewing, and renters face different risks depending on where they live.</p> <p>To determine the states with the most households at risk of eviction, <a href="https://thestacker.com/">Stacker</a> analyzed data from global advisory firm Stout that <a href="https://www.stout.com/en/services/transformative-change-consulting/eviction-right-to-counsel-resources">provides estimates</a> of the renting households unable to pay rent and at risk of eviction in every state based on the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey and Household Pulse Survey. We’ve ranked all 50 states and Washington D.C. according to the estimated share of renters in these states at risk of eviction over the next month. These estimates reflect the households with no or slight confidence that they will be able to pay rent. <a href="https://www.stout.com/-/media/pdf/statement-methodology-other-considerations-aug-2-2020.ashx">You can find more information about Stout’s methodology here</a>.</p> <p>Keep reading to see how many households are at risk of eviction in your home state.</p> <p>You may also like: <a href="https://thestacker.com/stories/3230/how-america-has-changed-first-census-1790">How America has changed since the first Census in 1790</a></p><p>Visit <a href="https://thestacker.com/" target="_blank">thestacker.com</a> for similar lists and stories.</p>

The average American renter spends 31.2% of their income on housing, an all-time high that’s exacerbated by the fact that more than 12 million people in the U.S. live in poverty despite working full-time. The coronavirus has deepened America’s housing crisis by leaving tens of millions without jobs and facing potential eviction.

Three things happened this summer to aggravate the situation even further. An emergency federal eviction moratorium expired; federal supplementary unemployment aid expired; and Congress failed to agree on another round of stimulus aid.

The result is a looming housing crisis, the size and severity of which is difficult to overstate. As many as 40 million renters could be at risk of eviction in the coming months, according to the Aspen Insitute. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued a nationwide moratorium on evictions through the end of 2020, but it comes with stipulations and requires struggling tenants to advocate for themselves.

Some states have created extra protections for renters, while many have not. Of the states that have their own state-mandated bans on evictions, many protections are ending soon. In many cases, however, the damage has already been done: Struggling American renters by midsummer had already amassed more than $21 billion in back rent. A crisis is brewing, and renters face different risks depending on where they live.

To determine the states with the most households at risk of eviction, Stacker analyzed data from global advisory firm Stout that provides estimates of the renting households unable to pay rent and at risk of eviction in every state based on the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey and Household Pulse Survey. We’ve ranked all 50 states and Washington D.C. according to the estimated share of renters in these states at risk of eviction over the next month. These estimates reflect the households with no or slight confidence that they will be able to pay rent. You can find more information about Stout’s methodology here.

Keep reading to see how many households are at risk of eviction in your home state.

You may also like: How America has changed since the first Census in 1790

Visit thestacker.com for similar lists and stories.

(zimmytws // Shutterstock)

WASHINGTON — A record-low share of Americans were living in poverty, incomes were climbing and health insurance coverage was little changed in 2019, a government report released Tuesday showed — although the circumstances of many have deteriorated as pandemic lockdowns and industry disruptions have thrown millions out of work.

The share of Americans living in poverty fell to 10.5% in 2019, the Census Bureau reported, down 1.3 percentage points from 2018. That rate is the lowest since estimates were first published in 1959.

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Household incomes increased to their highest level on record dating to 1967, at $68,700 in inflation-adjusted terms.

Interviews for this year’s income and poverty report were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, a census official said. Some economists warned that the disruptions could have made the data look too rosy.

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About 26 million Americans — 8% of the population — lacked health coverage for all of 2019, a slight decrease from the 27.5 million who were not covered in 2018. The change, while small, is notable because 2019 was the first year in which the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to purchase coverage was no longer in effect.

The report highlights how strong the job market and economy were before the pandemic. Yet despite those gains, many families remained vulnerable to such a major shock.

Unemployment was hovering at around 3.5% before the crisis took hold, the lowest in 50 years, and wages were steadily rising. Yet at the end of 2019, 3 in 10 adults said they could not cover three months' worth of expenses with savings or borrowing in the case of a job loss, according to a Federal Reserve survey.

Minority groups saw bigger declines in poverty in 2019, the census report showed, but also have much higher poverty rates. The poverty rate for whites dropped 1 percentage point to 9.1%; for Asians it was down 2.8 percentage points to 7.3%. Black poverty dropped 2% to 18.8%, and Hispanic poverty decreased by 1.8 percentage points to 15.7%.

State and local lockdowns prompted the sharpest job losses on record, pushing the unemployment rate up to 14.7% in April. While unemployment has declined to 8.4% as employers call temporarily furloughed workers back, that left about 10 million fewer people employed in August than in February.

Members of minority groups have been hard hit by those job losses, as have workers with lower education levels. Economists warn that many layoffs in the service sector could turn permanent as casinos, concert venues and hotels struggle to fully reopen as the coronavirus continues to spread.

President Trump, who has been highlighting the bright spots in the 2019 economy, is likely to embrace the positive news in the income and poverty report. Mr. Trump’s campaign pitch focuses on the idea that his administration “built the strongest economy in the history of the world.” Some figures argue against that statement: growth rates below historical records and high inequality prevailed before the crisis, and fewer people participated in the labor market than in the late 1990s.

But it is true that a record-long expansion and strong labor market were helping workers to make meaningful gains before the pandemic.

Median incomes for white, Black, Asian and Hispanic households all increased in 2019, adjusting for inflation, the census report released Tuesday showed.

Even as incomes rose, census officials said that the measure of income inequality was statistically unchanged last year. That suggests that despite higher levels of employment and pay, different policy measures would need to be used to narrow the gap between the rich and poor.

The 2020 recession is most likely worsening such gaps — between rich and poor, between racial groups, and in terms of both economic and health outcomes.

“The populations who are hit the hardest by the coronavirus are also those with the least stable access” to insurance coverage, said Katherine Baicker, the dean of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

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Minority and disadvantaged groups are often more likely to have underlying health conditions, and are also more likely to work in jobs that cannot be performed from the safety of their homes — meaning that many were either laid off or left exposed on the front lines.

“All of those things are lining up to tragically exacerbate disparities,” she said.

c.2020 The New York Times Company

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