WASHINGTON — The huge increase in government aid prompted by the coronavirus pandemic will cut poverty nearly in half this year from prepandemic levels and push the share of Americans in poverty to the lowest level on record, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of a vast but temporary expansion of the safety net.

The number of poor Americans is expected to fall by nearly 20 million from 2018 levels, a decline of almost 45 percent. The country has never cut poverty so much in such a short period of time, and the development is especially notable since it defies economic headwinds — the economy has nearly seven million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic.

The extraordinary reduction in poverty has come at extraordinary cost, with annual spending on major programs projected to rise fourfold to more than $1 trillion. Yet without further expensive new measures, millions of families may find the escape from poverty brief. The three programs that cut poverty most — stimulus checks, increased food stamps and expanded unemployment insurance — have ended or are scheduled to soon revert to their prepandemic size.

While poverty has fallen most among children, its retreat is remarkably broad: It has dropped among Americans who are white, Black, Latino and Asian, and among Americans of every age group and residents of every state.

AGE

RACE

LOCATION

20%

20%

20%

15%

15%

15%

Hispanic

Asian*

10%

10%

10%

Black

Adults 65+

Metro area

Adults 18-64

All

All

All

Rural area

White

Children

5%

5%

5%

2018

2021

2018

2021

2018

2021

AGE

RACE

LOCATION

20%

20%

20%

15%

15%

15%

Hispanic

Asian*

10%

10%

10%

Black

Adults 65+

Metro area

Adults 18-64

All

All

All

Rural area

White

Children

5%

5%

5%

2018

2021

2018

2021

2018

2021

AGE

RACE

LOCATION

20%

20%

20%

15%

15%

15%

Hispanic

Asian*

10%

10%

10%

Black

Adults 65+

Metro

Adults 18-64

All

All

All

Rural

White

Children

5%

5%

5%

2018

2021

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