Media Tip Sheet: U.S. Poverty Rate Spiked in 2022

September 15, 2023

The U.S. Census Bureau released new data this week that showed the U.S. poverty rate increased in 2022 to 12.4%, compared to 7.8% in 2021, with child poverty more than doubling. According to The Washington Post, “Tuesday’s data offers the first statistical snapshot of how the winding down of such programs as well as rising prices have begun reshaping the country.”

GW's Hilary Silver

Hilary Silver is a Professor of Sociology, International Affairs, and Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University. She is an expert on social exclusion and inclusion, inequality, poverty, housing, homelessness, and urban studies. This year, Silver published papers on the Covid-19 pandemic and homelessness, looking into the impact of exceptional pandemic policies on preventing homelessness. Overall, her work is mostly on the impact of expiring pandemic support for the homeless and at-risk tenants. 

Silver says the problem is only going to get worse. Evictions are up, inflation is making it harder to make rent, and many rental assistance programs are expiring, Silver says. Income support programs (like the child tax credit and basic income experiments in a lot of U.S. cities) do help alleviate housing insecurity, according to Silver, but there’s concern about what these numbers will look like moving forward.

“Put it in the context of the Congressional budget debates, calling to cut WIC and SNAP on top of the expiring Medicaid expansion and American Rescue Plan funds, and you're bound to have poverty increases this year as well.”

Silver says it’s also important to look at the issue from a larger lens to focus on additional, stigmatized populations impacted by homelessness and poverty who may often be overlooked in the discussion. 

If you would like to speak with Prod. Silver, please contact GW Senior Media Relations Specialist Cate Douglass at [email protected].