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University of Wisconsin–Madison

IRP Poverty Dispatch

Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

December 18, 2020

America’s poverty rate has risen at the fastest pace ever this year after aid for the unemployed declined.


Nearly 8 million Americans fell into poverty between June and November, a new analysis shows.


In the years leading up to 2020, the poverty rate in America had been on a gradual decline. But the pandemic changed everything.


Millions of Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic have fallen thousands of dollars behind on rent and utility bills, a warning sign that people are running out of money for basic needs.


A pandemic relief program allows no forgiveness of overpayments, even when recipients are not at fault and the funds are already spent.


Follow the StarTribune for the news, photos and videos from the Twin Cities and beyond.


Vital housing assistance, such as rapid rehousing, may not be available to families that don’t meet the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition of homeless, including those who have had to move in with other households.


In the seven weeks since housing courts reopened, new eviction filings have climbed quickly, despite a federal ban that still prevents many evictions from being finalized. And some parts of the state are seeing far more cases than others, according to a Globe analysis of state court data.



Many low-income families across Massachusetts have struggled to receive their promised free school breakfasts and lunches during the pandemic because of school schedules. It’s another way the pandemic is widening existing racial and socioeconomic inequities in education.


Feeding America estimates that 17 million children could go without enough to eat this year, and advocates say that hunger could get worse during winter.



Richard Smith wishes he could buy his groceries online and get them delivered right to his door in the pandemic. It’s not so easy.


December 4, 2020

Millions of jobless people may not be receiving the full unemployment payments they are owed, a government watchdog report released Monday found.


Official government statistics don’t fully capture just how much millions of Americans are hurting, one expert says.



Cutting the nutrition aid for more than 8,000 poor seniors on January 1 would be “catastrophic,” lawmakers say.


Loopholes in a CDC moratorium for evictions mean many renters are still losing their homes.


A federal moratorium on evictions is set to expire on Dec. 31. Kathryn Leifheit of UCLA says new data suggest evictions are linked to increases in coronavirus cases and deaths.


When a federal order limiting evictions expires at the end of the year, millions of Americans face the risk of losing their homes. Experts say it could have a ripple effect on kids trying to learn.


COVID-19 is closing day cares, increasing the cost of preschools and keeping children at home during arguably their most formative years.


For juveniles, justice often depends on where you live, the color of your skin, which police officer arrests you, or which judge, prosecutor or probation officer happens to be involved in your case.


A new UW study, launched nearly 20 years ago, comes in the midst of a national racial justice reckoning and after months of protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.


November 20, 2020

The unemployment benefits system has many shortcomings, researchers argue in a new paper published by MIT. They were laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic.



Expanded federal benefits are scheduled to lapse in December, potentially leaving millions of people with no income.


Emergency federal programs to assist the unemployed in the pandemic will expire at year’s end if there is no congressional action.



With the CDC eviction order set to expire at the end of the year, hundreds of thousands of renter households across the country may still lose their homes.


Despite moratoriums on evictions during COVID-19, renters across the country say their landlords found back-door ways to kick them out.


Florida became the eighth state and the first in the South to adopt a $15 minimum wage. Replicating this in other states and on the federal level remains a challenge.


No school is immune from the financial disruptions caused by the pandemic, but those with hefty endowments and reserves are faring better than those without. Colleges that are heavily reliant on tuition are watching their revenue dry up as enrollment has fallen, while the expense of testing and reopening has risen.


A double-digit dip in the number of students who have applied for federal aid for college has experts concerned.