American families struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic according to two separate poverty studies at Columbia University's Center on Poverty and Social Policy and one out of the University of Chicago and Notre Dame.
The Columbia study found that eight million more Americans are now poor than were in May—signaling that the pandemic has plunged more people into poverty than before the crisis.
The University of Chicago and Notre Dame study found that six million people have fallen into poverty in the past three months.
Both reports found that the number of children living in poverty is rising, with 2.5 million more poor children since May.
The CARES Act has been recognized as a significant piece of anti-poverty legislation, saving 12 million people from being pushed into poverty when it was passed in March. The Columbia study found that in May, 18 million people were being kept out of poverty thanks to the direct payments and $600 per week enhanced unemployment benefits. A major shortcoming of the CARES Act, Columbia researcher Christopher Wimer told the Times, "was its temporary nature."
"It wasn't perfect, but hands down it's the most successful thing we've ever done in negating hardship," H. Luke Shaefer, a researcher at the University of Michigan, told the New York Times, which reported that millions of people—including undocumented immigrants and families who don't have large enough incomes to file tax returns—were left out of the package.