African Americans have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus. (Courtesy photo/Pew Charitable Trusts) 
African Americans have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus. (Courtesy photo/Pew Charitable Trusts) 

Millions of newly unemployed Americans face poverty amid the coronavirus pandemic now that temporary federal assistance such as stimulus checks and $600 increases in weekly unemployment benefits has ceased, two new studies show.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy found that the federal assistance during the pandemic kept more than 18 million people out of monthly poverty in April, but the national monthly poverty rate shot to 16.7% in September after the temporary benefits expired, higher than the spring and pre-pandemic levels, CNN reported.

The Columbia study found that the monthly poverty rate for White Americans was 12% in September, but it was 25.2% for Blacks and 25.8% for Hispanics, according to CNN.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago and Zhejiang University in China found that the poverty rate fell from 11% in February to 9.3% in June, but only because of the federal stimulus checks that provided up to $1,200 for eligible individuals and $2,400 for eligible married couples, plus $500 for each qualifying child, CNN reported.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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