Poverty and Income

Greenstein Statement on New Census Bureau Data on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Health Insurance

The new Census data provide fresh evidence that the economy strengthened in 2013, but too slowly to improve the living standards of many middle- and low-income Americans.

Related: Families With Children Gained in 2013, But Poverty Still Higher and Incomes Lower Than Pre-Recession

 

Greenstein: Ryan "Opportunity Grant" Proposal Would Likely Increase Poverty and Shrink Resources for Poverty Programs Over Time

While some other elements of the Ryan poverty plan deserve serious consideration, such as those relating to the Earned Income Tax Credit and criminal justice reform, his "Opportunity Grant" would likely increase poverty and hardship, and is therefore ill-advised, for several reasons.

Related:

 

Chart Book: The War on Poverty at 50, Overview

As we mark the 50th anniversary of President Johnson's War on Poverty, we should recognize that poverty has fallen significantly over the last half-century when measured using a comprehensive poverty measure, and other troubling poverty-related conditions have declined.

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Basics

The poverty guideline, the federal government’s estimate of a minimum income used in determining eligibility for many federal programs, is $23,850 for a family of four in 2014, $11,670 for a single individual, and $4,060 for each additional person. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, though many states (and some municipalities) have set their own minimum wages at a higher level.

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The Center analyzes major economic developments affecting low- and moderate-income Americans, including trends in poverty, income inequality, and the working poor.  In addition, we analyze the asset rules in various public benefit programs that can discourage low-income people from building modest savings and highlight potential reforms.

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