Statement

STATEMENT: Share Our Strength’s Lisa Davis Responds to Spike in Poverty According to New Census Data

“These numbers are an avoidable tragedy,” says Davis. “Investments in government assistance programs like SNAP and the Child Tax Credit can reduce hunger and build a more sustainable ladder out of poverty.”

Contact: Meredith Jorss, mjorss@strength.org

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Census Bureau released its annual report on poverty in the U.S. for calendar year 2022. This year’s study shows the largest one-year spike in poverty on record, up to 12.4% last year from 7.8% in 2021 according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which takes into account the impact of government assistance and other resources. The following is a statement from Lisa Davis, senior vice president of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

“These numbers are a tragedy, especially because we know this increase was entirely avoidable. During that pandemic, we saw wide scale  bipartisan investments in government assistance programs that had a tremendous impact on hunger and poverty.

“Programs like the enhanced Child Tax Credit (CTC) delivered higher benefits on a month-by-month basis to more families, including those with some of the lowest incomes who have historically been excluded. This change finally made these tax credits available for the 1 in 3 children nationwide previously left behind.  

“This temporary expansion of the CTC had a profound impact on children and families, including an unprecedented reduction in child poverty. In 2021, the year expanded CTC payments were available, child poverty fell by 46% and estimates show that 90% of this decline was attributed to the expanded CTC. 

“And, when lawmakers invested in nutrition programs like Pandemic EBT and SNAP, which provide families with grocery benefits to buy food, they not only mitigated a hunger crisis but drove poverty rates down by the millions. When temporary emergency SNAP allotments and a permanent increase to the maximum SNAP benefits were in effect at the same time, they lifted more than 2.3 million kids out of poverty, with an outsized impact on children of color.  

“Sadly, today’s report tells a different story. Child poverty sat at a record low in 2021 and has more than doubled since. 

“While the pandemic may be over, there are still far too many families struggling to make ends meet. Research shows that investing in programs like SNAP and the Child Tax Credit has an impressive return on investment, directly reducing hunger and hardship and helping lift children and families out of poverty. 

“Lawmakers nationwide – from the federal government, to state and local elected officials – have the opportunity right now to fix this avoidable tragedy. There are legislative vehicles moving through Congress through the appropriations and Farm Bill processes to protect and strengthen WIC and SNAP. And restoring the CTC expansion should be a priority seriously sought after. At the state level, there are important opportunities on the horizon to participate in a new Summer EBT program that will connect more kids to the food they need in the summer.  

“We’ve never been closer to ending hunger and building a more sustainable ladder out of poverty. We just need the continued political will to make it a reality.” 

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