US poverty rate jumped in 2022, child poverty more than doubled: Census

Biden sharply criticized Republicans for not extending the child tax credit.

September 12, 2023, 9:43 PM

The poverty rate in the United States increased last year, the first increase in 13 years, according to the Census Bureau.

In 2022, the poverty rate was 12.4%, up 4.6% from 2021, according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which looks at government programs and tax credits designed to help low-income families, according to the census.

The expiration of pandemic programs, including refundable tax credits and stimulus payments, at the start of 2022, led to an increase in the SPM over the official poverty rate, the census reported.

The poverty rate among children saw a sizeable increase, more than doubling from 5.2% in 2021 to 12.4% last year, census data shows.

The increase in the child poverty rate comes after the child tax credit expansion ended on Dec. 31, 2021.

Homeless people rest in the shade in Houston during excessive heat warnings for southeastern Texas on July 16, 2023.
Go Nakamura/Reuters, FILE

The child tax credit expansion, which went into effect in July 2021 as part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, provided parents between $250 to $300 a month, per child.

Volunteers and employees with West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH) distribute food to those in need outside of their Manhattan facility on Aug. 17, 2023 in New York City.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Before the child tax credit expansion, one in three children around the country were not eligible for the full Child Tax Credit because the income of their families was too low, according to the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University.

President Biden, who had touted the enhanced child tax credit as cutting child poverty in half, sharply criticized congressional Republicans Tuesday for not extending the child tax credit, saying today's numbers on child poverty are a consequence of their refusal to extend the credit.

"The rise reported today in child poverty is no accident--it is the result of a deliberate policy choice congressional Republicans made to block help for families with children while advancing massive tax cuts for the wealthiest and largest corporations," The White House said. "No child should grow up in poverty, and I will continue to fight to restore the expanded Child Tax Credit to give tens of millions of families the tax relief and breathing room they deserve."

Social Security lifted 28.9 million people out of SPM poverty last year, according to census data. In its report, the Census Bureau said Social Security was the "most important antipoverty program in 2022."

The official poverty rate for Black Americans decreased by 2.4%, from 19.5% in 2021 to 17.1% in 2022, according to census data, as well as for Asian Americans, which saw the official poverty rate dip from 9.1% in 2021 to 8.6% last year.

White Americans experienced a 0.5% increase in poverty from 2021 to 2022, which sits at 10.5%, census data shows.

The official poverty rate measures poverty by comparing pre-tax income to a poverty threshold adjusted by family composition, according to the Census Bureau.