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Why Isn’t Poverty Falling? Blame a Too-Quick Retreat on Unemployment Benefits

October 7, 2013

If you are wondering what’s behind the stubbornly high poverty rate, which has remained virtually frozen for the last two years despite continued economic growth, one thing is unemployment insurance (UI).  Not too much UI — too little.  As our new report explains, if the UI system hadn’t weakened, poverty would have fallen in...

Tomorrow’s Poverty Data: Some Timely Issues to Look For

September 16, 2013

The Census Bureau will release the official figures tomorrow on the number of Americans in poverty in 2012, as well as data on the impact of various safety net programs.  The figures will show:

  • Changes in the official poverty rate. If the rate falls, it will be a sign that the recovery—which officially began in June 2009 — finally started to reach
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Poverty Has Fallen Since the 1960s, But Official Poverty Measure Masks Progress

September 13, 2013

The Census Bureau’s release next week of updated poverty figures may lead some people to compare today’s poverty rate to those of 1960s and conclude that the last half-century of federal efforts to alleviate poverty have largely failed.

But that’s simply not accurate.  Comparing today’s official poverty rate with those of the 1960s yields highly distorted results because...

The Safety Net: Supporting Working Families and Promoting Work

July 31, 2013

A House Budget Committee hearing today is looking at how anti-poverty programs have worked over the last 50 years.  As I explained yesterday, safety net programs lifted 40 million people — including almost 9 million children — out of poverty in 2011, according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental...

The Safety Net: Lifting Millions Out of Poverty

July 30, 2013

A House Budget Committee hearing tomorrow will examine the progress we’ve made in fighting poverty over the last 50 years.  Extensive research shows that the set of supports the United States has developed to help low-income Americans make ends meet and obtain health care do, in fact, lift millions of people out of poverty, help “make work pay” by supplementing low wages, and enable millions...

Get Ready for Unfounded Attacks on the War on Poverty

July 15, 2013

Next year, the nation will mark the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, which President Johnson proclaimed in his State of the Union address of January 1964.  Sadly, we should expect to hear a drumbeat of attacks claiming that, as President Reagan said long ago, we fought a war on poverty and “poverty won.”  Indeed, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said recently of the...

Working-Family Tax Credits Make a Big Difference for Military Families

July 2, 2013

With policymakers considering overhauling the tax code this year, it’s worth noting that about one in four current or former armed forces families with children receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the low-income piece of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) — two key tax credits for low- and moderate-income working families.

Our new...

Working-Family Tax Credits Lift Millions of Mothers — and Children — Out of Poverty

May 10, 2013

With Mother’s Day approaching and policymakers considering overhauling the tax code this year, it’s worth noting that two key tax credits for low-income workers lifted 2.3 million mothers out of poverty in 2011 (the most recent year available), using a Census Bureau poverty measure that counts tax credits and government benefits.

Our new...

Why Deficit Reduction Must Protect Effective Low-Income Programs

March 11, 2013

With President Obama and lawmakers of both parties vowing to achieve further deficit reduction, the stakes are high for low- and moderate-income Americans.  Moreover, as we explain in a new paper, if deficit reduction targets programs that provide supports and foster opportunity for low-income families, the adverse effects...

Most Poor Children Live in Households with Major Hardships

November 20, 2012

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, this is an appropriate time to look at some new figures on hardship.  New CBPP analysis of monthly Census data finds that more than half (58 percent) of poor children last year lived in households that faced one or more of the following:

  • difficulty affording adequate food (what the Agriculture Department terms “low food
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