The Covid-19 pandemic caused tremendous hardship in 2020. But timely federal aid and safety net programs dampened the blow and effectively kept millions of Americans out of poverty, according to the latest U.S. Census data. Louisiana, though, has suffered through a string of natural disasters in addition to the pandemic. While critical federal action helped alleviate suffering in the first year of the pandemic, the need for aid remains. 

Key Findings
❖ Job and wage loss would have driven millions into poverty last year. Instead, robust government
aid actually lowered poverty during the pandemic. At 11.4% the official poverty rate, which
doesn’t account for all government aid, increased by 1 percentage point from 2019 to 2020
representing 37.2 million people. But at 9.1% the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM),
an updated measure of poverty that does account for government assistance, decreased by 2.7
percentage points from 2019 to 2020.
❖ As millions of Americans lost their jobs due to the pandemic in 2020, national annual median
income decreased to $67,500 in 2020, a drop of 2.9% from 2019. Income inequality
remained at its historic high with a Gini Coefficient of 0.489.
❖ National health insurance coverage held steady: an estimated 8.6% of people in America
were uninsured in 2020. The adult uninsured rate among Medicaid Expansion states (8.9%)
was about half that of the adult uninsured rate for non-expansion states (17.6%) continuing a
trend from 2019.