Since the pandemic begin in mid-March 2020, many Americans struggled to put food on the table. Washington passed three round of stimulus checks to help with families struggling economically.
According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that this week the percentage of adult living in households that sometimes or often did not have enough to eat dropped to just over 8 percent last month down from nearly 11 percent in March which came after hundreds of billions in stimulus checks poured out to American households. The federal government has kept tracked of how households are faring during the economic crisis in collaboration with the Census Bureau which conducts biweekly surveys to chart how Americans are doing on a variety of issues such as household debt, missed rent payments, and whether they frequently went to a food bank.
The percentage of Americans struggling with hunger is now at its lowest level since the pandemic began, suggesting the recent flood in aid from Washington is making a significant difference to families struggling economically.
Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week shows the percentage of adults living in households that sometimes or often did not have enough to eat dipped to just over 8 percent late last month, down from nearly 11 percent in March. That is a substantial drop, and it came after hundreds of billions in stimulus checks rolled out.
The pandemic marks the first time the federal government has closely tracked in real time how households are faring during an economic crisis. The Census Bureau has been conducting biweekly surveys to probe how Americans are doing on a wide variety of issues, including household debt, missed rent payments and whether they recently went to a food bank.
While it is worth noting that federal aid clearly plays a major factor, it’s still too early to know to how much stimulus payment help to decrease in hunger and stepped up food aid [SNAP] versus how much has been fueled by improving the economy. Economists concluded that previous rounds of stimulus checks have also led to declines in hunger amid major spikes of unemployment.
James X Sullivan-Leo of University of Notre Dame and his colleagues recently estimated that poverty declined slightly during the first few months of the pandemic after Washington spent trillions on two early aid packages that stepped up unemployment benefits and sent $1,200 checks to millions of Americans among many other forms of aid. However, when some of the initial unemployment benefit expired in July, poverty rose sharply, even though unemployment fell dramatically.
Sullivan said, There’s a real success story here. “The federal response went a real long way to prevent a massive increase in hardship. That’s not to say there weren’t hardships, but it could have been so much worse,” he said.
Governors of South Carolina and Montana is ending their pandemic unemployment benefit for its residents next month citing that the enhanced jobless programs are dissuading people from returning to the workplace and are creating job shortages. If both governors plan to end the pandemic benefits, perhaps they should consider increasing the minimum wages, provide fund programs to provide child care for women who return to work, and mandate businesses and workplaces put in place safety workplace precautions to protect workers from exposure of Covid-19.