Pete Buttigieg earns 3 ‘Pinocchios’ over claim he slashed black poverty rate ‘by more than half’ in South Bend, Ind.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was awarded “Three Pinocchios” – the highest bluff rating on The Washington Post’s Fact Checker scale – after claiming last week that he had “cut the black poverty rate by more than half” in South Bend, Ind., since he became mayor there in 2012.

Buttigieg made the assertion at a Dec. 2 meet-and-greet in Allendale, S.C. – where the majority of the population is black. According to the Post, the 2020 hopeful used estimates from the Census Bureau but “cherry-picked the most flattering instead of the most scientifically reliable” set of data.


“The more reliable five-year estimates indicate that the African American poverty rate has declined far less in South Bend during the years Buttigieg has been mayor — not more than half, as he said, but 6 percent,” the Post said.

Buttigieg’s campaign told the Post that it drew its number from the American Community Survey (ACS), which is conducted every year by the Census Bureau. The African-American poverty rate fell from 53 percent to 24 percent when comparing 2011 with 2017, according to the one-year data set. Still, Buttigieg’s campaign left out available data from 2018, which shows South Bend’s poverty rate for African-Americans rose to 32 percent last year.


“So the total decline during Buttigieg’s time in office would be nearly 40 percent, not more than half, when using his preferred metric,” the Post said. “Even when using his preferred metric, Buttigieg left out data from 2018 that complicates his claim. He earns Three Pinocchios.”

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