In 2020, poverty would have declined despite the health crisis

The year 2020, epicenter of the health crisis caused by Covid-19, would have seen poverty decline in France. This is what emerges from the survey data. Tax and social income published by INSEE on Friday 14 October. According to this study, the share of poor people in the population (1) two years ago was 13.9%, i.e. 0.7 points less than in 2019.

This conclusion, however, contrasts with the previous estimate of poverty in France, published in 2021, which reported a stabilization of poverty in 2020, then evaluated at 14.3%, i.e. almost the same figure as the previous year ( 14.2%).

Aid has curbed poverty

According to INSEE, the absence of an increase in poverty is mainly explained by the distribution of exceptional aid by the government, with the policy of “whatever the cost” in order to limit the economic repercussions of the Covid-19 epidemic. “Despite these discrepancies, the surveys agree on the fact that poverty did not increase in 2020 despite the scale of the crisis and that the support measures for households have greatly contributed to containing the increase in poverty. », explains INSEE.

The decline in poverty that emerges from the figures must therefore be taken with caution. In particular because the multiplication of aid distributed by the government has contributed to distorting the calculations. “In 2020, the health crisis weakened the results of the surveys: collection conditions were degraded by travel restrictions and the multiplicity of financial support schemes complicated the measurement of income”, notes INSEE.

For many months, the government has indeed paid many aids: compensation for partial activity (from which 12% of employees benefited), exceptional bonus for purchasing power (21% of employees) and to nursing staff (7 % of employees), tax exemption for overtime (31% of employees), etc. Exceptional solidarity aid has also been allocated by the State to persons receiving the RSA.

Such a discrepancy between the results of the different surveys has already occurred in the past, recalls the institute, which specifies that in this case the study Tax and social income prime. However, given the particular nature of the economic context, Insee “maintain today (diagnosis from 2021 study showing stabilization) and thus deviates from the results of the survey Tax and social income. »

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