Date: December 28 2020
Summary: Emerging insights into income and poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic
Keywords: ##bibliography #pandemic #covid #economics #poverty #population #survey #archive
J. Han, B. Meyer, and J. Sullivan, "Income and Poverty in the COVID-19 Pandemic," National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, w27729, Aug. 2020. doi: 10.3386/w27729.
This study provides a template for understanding large economic shocks as they happen to counter the problem of data availability during major economic shocks. The start of the pandemic saw an unprecedented decline in economic activity in the US. The largest single month decline in US unemployment was 14 percent in April 2020.
The federal government's response totalled to nearly three trillion dollars spent to counter pandemic effects. Their response comprised of:
Economic Impact Payments (tax rebates)
Small business loans
Massive increase in unemployment insurance as part of the CARES Act
Basic Monthly Current Population Survey (Monthly CPS), was used due to its quick release to understand the impact of macroeconomic conditions and government policies on US families' incomes.
Family income from respondents in their first or fifth month in the survey were observed for a monthly sample ranging from 8,999 households and 20,822 individuals in February 2020 to 6,149 households and 14,383 individuals in April 2020. Monthly CPS data from IPUMS-CPS  Generally, 90% of earnings are reported in CPS, as opposed to ~60% of unemployment insurance. 
Without US government intervention, poverty would have risen by 2.7 percentage points between January and June.
The COVID Impact survey  finds an increase in food insecurity when compared to a different earlier survey while the Census Bureau's Household Pulse survey  finds high rates of inability to pay rent. These sources suggest increased hardship after the pandemic. The increase in deprivation is not due to the overall income loss, but rather due to other disruptions of the pandemic, including possibly the unevenness of the income flows.
Disruptions such as:
Closures of schools
Churches and other facilities
The uncertainty about future income streams
Concerns about the health of family and friends
Zelko, Jacob. Income and Poverty in the COVID-19 Pandemic. https://jacobzelko.com/12282020152055-income-poverty-pandemic. December 28 2020.
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