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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Month: April 2020

April 24, 2020

Just over half of lower-income adults say they or someone in their household has lost their job or taken a pay cut because of the coronavirus pandemic, a new Pew Research Center study has found.


People on unemployment in most states normally receive, on average, less than half their weekly salaries. Now many are poised to receive more than they would have normally earned in their jobs.


After several weeks since filing for unemployment, many are still waiting to be paid.


Record numbers of jobless and the coronavirus’s disproportionate effect on low-income people of color has increased the focus and the demands on Medicaid.


“These are unprecedented times for American families who are facing joblessness and hunger.”


About 40% of households receiving food stamps won’t see any increase in their benefits, and online grocery delivery remains limited.


A study of four cities suggested that those living in close quarters in shelters can spread the virus at high rates even when asymptomatic.


Motel dwellers may not receive tenant protections in some states.


Theoni Bosman Quarshie has been cramped into a two-bedroom London public housing apartment with her mother and younger sister since the UK went into coronavirus lockdown in mid-March.


With most schooling now only available online, the coronavirus pandemic is bluntly underscoring the stark digital divide among California’s students.


Though many telecommunications companies said they would provide free Internet services to those in need during the coronavirus shutdown, a survey of Los Angeles Schools families finds that getting it done isn’t always so simple.


April 17, 2020

Researchers suggest the poverty rate may reach the highest levels in half a century, hitting African-Americans and children hardest.


The coronavirus pandemic has shown how close to the edge many Americans were living, with pay and benefits eroding even as corporate profits surged.


Economists warn that recovering from the ‘Great Lockdown’ is going to take a long time, and millions of Americans are likely to remain out of a job through the end of the year


Jobless claims exceed 20 million in four weeks, inflicting a toll on the labor force not seen since the Great Depression.


As businesses remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic, an unrelenting jobs crisis continues to push Americans onto unemployment rolls.


By the end of the April, gig workers, people who had job offers revoked because of coronavirus, and others will be able to apply for benefits through a new state program.


Following an outbreak among San Francisco’s homeless, advocates worry smaller communities that have resisted using hotels to ease crowding at homeless shelters, such as West Haven, Conn.; Plymouth, Mass.; and Laguna Woods, Calif., will also experience a similar rapid spread of the highly contagious respiratory disease among their most vulnerable populations.


The portal is separate from the soon-to-be-launched “Get My Payment” portal that the IRS is creating for people who filed their taxes but did not get a tax refund through direct deposit.


April 10, 2020

“This is a quick enough shock that it could be a huge financial burden on Medicaid systems across the states,” one researcher said.


Florida spends a little less than $9 billion in state funds each year on Medicaid. It spends $14 billion in federal dollars. By comparison New York, an early expansion state with a comparable population, spends $34.2 billion in state and $40.6 billion in federal dollars on Medicaid.


Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune is providing readers free access to critical local stories about the coronavirus during this time of heightened concern.


The Trump administration approved a request to loosen requirements to access Medicaid programs.


An analysis of U.S. hospital data shows why health officials are seeking more resources to treat coronavirus patients. See how resources in your area compare with the rest of the country.



The number of unemployed Americans continues to rise as states trying to keep up with the overwhelming amount of claims coming in.


Millions of low-income children who can no longer get free meals at school because of the coronavirus crisis have yet to receive additional federal assistance promised to them by Congress.


The economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a record surge in the number of people applying to CalFresh, the state’s food stamp program.


Black people make up about 14% of Michigan’s population, but 40% of all COVID-19 deaths — most of which are in the Detroit metro area.


Obesity, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, all more prevalent in African American communities, are risk factors for coronavirus outcomes.


Homeless shelters are running out of money, supplies and staff.


Of more than 13 million units in the US that the report covered, 69% of renters paid their rent between April 1 and 5, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council. During the same period in April 2019, 82% of households paid their rent on time, the report said.


It costs more to build low-income housing in California than anywhere else in the U.S., and the coronavirus pandemic is likely to make matters worse.