Allentown, Pa. (WVLT) - Data compiled by the University of Chicago and Notre Dame shows the poverty rate in the United States has steadily increased since the summer.
The data shows as of October, 11.4% of Americans were living below the poverty line. For a family of four, that means their income is less than $26,000 a year.
"A lot of households are one emergency away from a crisis. And the thing was that COVID-19 was that emergency," said Erin Connelly, senior director of impact at the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.
In Lehigh and Northampton counties, the pandemic has caused more people to seek out support.
"We know that locally, food pantries are seeing over double their usual volumes. And we know that many clients are visiting food pantries for the first time," said Connelly.
As more people slip into poverty, it's difficult for experts to estimate how many will recover financially after the pandemic ends.