The 2020 Democratic and Republican National Conventions have now concluded and each party has formally selected its candidate for president of the United States. Former Vice President Joe Biden accepted the Democratic nomination for president on August 20, delivering his acceptance speech from his home state of Delaware. President Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination on August 27 in a speech delivered from the White House lawn.

National convention acceptance speeches offer insight into each candidate’s view of the major issues facing Americans. Here are five key issues touched on by both Biden and Trump, along with a look at the most recent data on those topics.

COVID-19

Both President Trump and former Vice President Biden spoke about COVID-19 and their plans to handle the ongoing pandemic. Trump spoke of measures already taken by his administration—like invoking the Defense Production Act to produce masks and ventilators—and claimed that America will “have a safe and effective vaccine this year.” Biden emphasized his day-one plan to tackle the virus, including to “develop and deploy rapid tests,” “make medical supplies and protective equipment,” and “have a national mandate to wear a mask.”

COVID-19 cases and deaths: Seven-day national average

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The US currently confirms about 41,000 new coronavirus cases and 1,000 deaths each day, according to seven-day national averages. New daily cases have fallen from their peak of 66,000 in mid-July, while deaths have hovered near 1,000 throughout August.

Find more detailed information about the spread of the coronavirus in the COVID-19 dashboard, and see metrics on health, economic recovery, and household and government spending in the COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Hub.

Jobs and unemployment

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the national unemployment rate to hit double digits; both candidates shared their visions for job creation and economic recovery. Biden claimed that he would create jobs by investing in new infrastructure and clean energy operations and would add “5 million new manufacturing and technology jobs.” Trump also spoke of adding manufacturing jobs and claimed that his administration would create “10 million jobs in the next 10 months.”

National unemployment rate

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The unemployment rate has declined steadily from its 2009 peak of 10% during the Great Recession. This halted in April, when the unemployment rate jumped up to 14.7%. As of July 2020, the unemployment rate was 10.2%, slightly above the Great Recession.

Find data on employment broken down by state and industry in the employment dashboard, and track other measures of economic recovery with the COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Hub.

Immigration

Trump’s hardline stance on immigration was key to his 2016 campaign. In this year’s acceptance speech, he claimed he would ban sanctuary cities, continue building a wall on the US-Mexico border, and enforce “strong borders.” Biden stated that he would pursue “an immigration system that powers our economy and reflects our values."

Persons removed from the US

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In 2018, immigration officials removed 337,000 people from the US. This is lower than the 2013 peak of 433,000 removals, but higher than any year before 2007.

Immigration, by type

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Between 2016 and 2018, the number of Green Cards granted decreased by about 7% from 1.18 million to 1.10 million, while naturalizations remained about the same. Asylum claims granted nearly doubled over the same time, while refugee arrivals fell 74% to 22,400, the lowest number since 1980.

For a deeper dive on immigration, start with the summary from the 2020 State of the Union report or explore all of the immigration data available through USAFacts.

Tax reform

Both candidates noted their stances on tax reform and referenced the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed under President Trump. Biden criticized the legislation, calling it lenient toward the “wealthiest 1 percent and the biggest, most profitable corporations.” Trump said his administration would “cut taxes even further.”

Tax brackets: Single, filing individually
Under prior law (2017) Under TCJA (2018)
Taxable income Rate Taxable income Rate
$0 to $9,325 10% $0 to $9,525 10%
$9,325 to $37,950 15% $9,525 to $38,700 12%
$37,950 to $91,900 25% $38,700 to $82,500 22%
$91,900 to $191,650 28% $82,500 to $157,500 24%
$191,650 to $416,700 33% $157,500 to $200,000 32%
$416,700 to $418,400 35% $200,000 to $500,000 35%
$418,400 and above 39.6% $500,000 and above 37%
Tax brackets: Married, filing jointly
Under prior law (2017) Under TCJA (2018)
Taxable income Rate Taxable income Rate
$0 to $18,650 10% $0 to $19,050 10%
$18,650 to $75,900 15% $19,050 to $77,400 12%
$75,900 to $153,100 25% $77,400 to $165,000 22%
$153,100 to $233,350 28% $165,000 to $315,000 24%
$233,350 to $416,700 33% $315,000 to $400,000 32%
$416,700 to $470,700 35% $400,000 to $600,000 35%
$470,700 and above 39.6% $600,000 and above 37%

The TCJA altered the tax code in ways that affected both individuals and businesses beginning with the 2018 tax year. Among its many measures, the TCJA lowered the tax rate for most income brackets, removed the personal exemption, increased the standard deduction, doubled the child tax credit, and limited or discontinued certain itemized deductions. It also eliminated the Affordable Care Act individual mandate, reduced the number of estates and gifts subjected to taxation, and converted the corporate tax rate from a bracketed system to a flat rate of 21%.

Dive further into the data on taxes in the US, or see how money flows in and out of government with data on the US budget in the 2020 State of the Union report.

Healthcare

Both candidates addressed the topic of healthcare amid the ongoing pandemic. Trump spoke of lowering the cost of prescription drugs and health insurance premiums and said his administration would “strongly protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” Biden criticized Trump’s treatment of the Affordable Care Act and spoke about prioritizing a “health care system that lowers premiums, deductibles, and drug prices by building on the Affordable Care Act.”

Health insurance coverage

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In 2018, 8.5% of Americans had no form of health insurance, up from a low of 7.9% in 2017.

Health insurance spending per enrollee

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Health insurance spending varies by program, with higher average spending per Medicare or Medicaid enrollee as compared to those insured privately or through the Childhood Health Insurance Program.

Explore more data on healthcare in the US or learn more in the 2020 State of the Union report.

Gather the data on 2020 election issues

In their nomination acceptance speeches, presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump spoke about many of the same issues facing America today including COVID-19, jobs and unemployment, immigration, taxes, and healthcare. While their policy proposals may differ, both candidates and the American people can use government data to understand how the country is doing and to measure future progress.

Various state and local health agencies
National Level Employment & Unemployment (Time Series)
National Health Expenditure Accounts
Current Population Survey
Yearbook of Immigration Statistics
HR 1: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act