In more than 20 US cities that launched basic income programs during the pandemic, the average person receiving monthly support was a woman making just enough money to put her over the federal poverty line. Most beneficiaries were single, most had kids, and most were people of color. They received up to $1,000 a month, usually for about a year, and overall spent the largest share of the money at superstores and smaller retailers. A quarter of the funds across projects went to food, and under 6% went to travel and leisure.
This data, which was released publicly today, provides an early look at the reach and impact of city pilot programs designed to test the power of no-strings-attached cash. Eventually, more than 30 cities will share their data on this dashboard as part of a project by the Stanford Basic Income Lab, the Center for Guaranteed Income Research, and Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, an advocacy coalition formed in 2020 that now includes 100 city leaders.
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