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President Biden’s Economic Relief Package Could Cut Childhood Poverty in Half — But It’s Only Temporary

Philadelphia Inquirer

January 25, 2021

President Joe Biden has announced a lofty goal in the opening days of his administration: Cut the rate of childhood poverty in half.

His proposed policies would slash what’s known as the supplemental poverty rate of all U.S. children from 14% to about 8%, according to analysts at Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy. (Considered more accurate than the official U.S. poverty rate, the supplemental rate takes into account the benefits a family receives, such as food stamps, as well as a family’s expenses such as health care.)

In Pennsylvania, the rate would drop from nearly 14% to about 8%; in New Jersey, it would fall from a little more than 14% to almost 10%, according to Columbia figures.

While people are lauding Biden, it’s important to note that America’s poverty problems will not simply disappear, said Mariana Chilton, professor at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health and director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities.

“This doesn’t mean the Biden administration is ending poverty,” she said. “SNAP is still inadequate for paying the true cost of healthy food.

“The Biden package is a start. It helps in the short term — it buys some time for families. Let’s hope the Biden-Harris administration will generate more transformative solutions for the long term.”

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