Learn the Effects of Poverty on Health Outcomes During National Poverty in America Awareness Month (Updated Links)

Date: January 6, 2022

During January, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) recognizes National Poverty in America Awareness Month. There are 37.2 million Americans living in poverty, an increase of 3.3 million people since 2019. In 2020, racial and ethnic minorities continued to be disproportionately affected by poverty, with Black (19.5%) and Hispanic (17%) Americans shown to have poverty rates that were more than twice that of White Americans (8.2%).

There is a clear and established relationship between poverty, socioeconomic status, and health outcomes, with those living in poverty having an increased risk of chronic conditions, lower life expectancy, and barriers to receiving quality health care. The COVID-19 pandemic has also significantly impacted low-income families. In 2020, nearly half of lower-income families reported that they or someone in their household had lost a job or taken a pay cut as a result of the pandemic, impacting their abilities to meet basic economic needs and further disrupting access to health care. More specifically, these disparities in access to health care affected low-income families of color.

National Poverty in America Awareness Month offers an opportunity for CMS OMH to advance health equity for all Americans. CMS and other federal programs offer a variety of resources to help learn how to access health coverage, manage health care costs, and fully utilize benefits. Below is a list of resources that providers can share with their patients.


Help your community learn more about how the Administration for Children and Families Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program(LIHEAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is helping to assist households meet important expenses like heating and food.