Pandemic Sets Poverty Progress Back Decades

Man on the streets of New York
Shiavon Chatman
June 10, 2021

For years, the poverty rate has been steadily, but slowly, going down. But in 2020, the pandemic reversed decades of progress toward alleviating poverty. And Black people were the most vulnerable.

The previous administration lied to U.S. residents about the severity of COVID. This made the impact of the pandemic dramatically worse in the U.S. and globally. The effect was primarily felt by low-income people of color – corporations and the rich actually made money in 2020!

The impact of the pandemic had a ripple effect. With schools closed, and without universal access to online learning, thousands of students dropped out – primarily low-income students in Black and brown neighborhoods. This completely interrupted their educational and eventual job progress.

Many businesses closed, and Black people were less likely to have access to remote work. “Essential” workers were forced into unsafe conditions or to lose their jobs. Updated poverty projections show Black people as more likely to fall below the poverty line in 2021.

Black liberation is only possible if we’re ALL free from the shackles that poverty has on our people. We have to do everything we can to take care of each other as we exit this difficult period – and do everything we can to prevent it from happening again!

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