Alarming data during the COVID-19 pandemic shows significant rise in the number of children now living in poverty. Here’s what you need to know.
When a third-grade teacher asked one of her students on their Zoom class why she couldn’t stop fidgeting last December, the teacher got a heart-stopping answer. The 9-year-old began to weep and confessed to her entire class that she was starving. She said there wasn’t enough food in her home and she was very, very hungry. Thankfully, the teacher leapt into action and a the school and local food bank were able supply the family with food.
“It turns out the girl’s mother lost her job when all the restaurants shut down in March. She hasn’t been able to work since March and she does not qualify for unemployment or benefits,” Kim Guadagno, who runs Fulfill, a county food bank, told MSN News. “Can you imagine the trauma this little girl was going through to burst into tears and say this in front of a class of her whole peers?”
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, job losses and financial disruption have led more and more families into poverty. Researchers say the initial 2020 projections for the US poverty rate were eclipsed by 2.7%. “This translates to 43.8 million Americans in poverty, 9.8 million more than in 2019,” note the authors of the “Projections of Poverty and Program Eligibility During the COVID-19 Pandemic” report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the article, “Largest Increase in US Poverty Recorded in 2020” (Forbes.com), “[Because of] the coronavirus pandemic’s decimation of the labor market and the months-long expiration of benefits from the government relief package keeping families afloat, the poverty rate in the United States surged from 9.3% in June to 11.7% in November 2020.” This is according to a report released by analysts at the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. “[This is] creating the biggest increase in a single year since the government began tracking poverty in 1960.”
The Forbes article continues: “According to the study, Black Americans, children and those with a high school education or less have disproportionately been impacted. Poverty rates for Blacks have risen by 3.1% since June. The poverty rate for individuals without a college degree has climbed from 17% in June to 22.1% in November. Approximately 2.3 million children under the age of 17 have fallen into poverty over the past six months.”
Read “Projections of Poverty and Program Eligibility During the COVID-19 Pandemic” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Read the World Bank report on poverty worldwide in the pandemic.
Find out more about how your ministry can effectively partner with existing programs to combat poverty here.
Find a free download for 5 ways families can combat hunger in their community today here.
Watch young Lauren serve God and those in need here.