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The War on Poverty at 50: Illustrating the Safety Net’s Success

January 7, 2014

The safety net, which is rooted in President Johnson’s War on Poverty and later expanded, helps millions of people make ends meet and access affordable health care, as we show in the third installment of our new chart book.


The War on Poverty at 50, Illustrated

January 6, 2014

Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s War on Poverty.  As we mark this anniversary, 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.  Nevertheless, poverty and hardship remain high, with millions of Americans...

Hardship in America, 2013: Getting By Has Gotten Tougher

November 25, 2013

As Thanksgiving approaches, we’re taking a closer look at the hardships that many American families face in the weak economy, the programs that help them make ends meet and promote opportunity, and the threats that these programs are encountering.  In this first post in the series, we look at the tough time families are having simply making ends meet.

Almost 1 in 5...

Poverty Rate Would Have Been Nearly Twice as High in 2012 Without Safety Net, New Census Data Show

November 6, 2013

Safety net programs cut poverty nearly in half in 2012, according to our analysis of Census data released today. The data illustrate the effectiveness of a broad range of government assistance programs, such as Social Security, rent subsidies, and tax credits for working families.


November 1 SNAP Cut Will Hit Veterans in Every State

October 28, 2013

Count low-income veterans — thousands in every state, according to a new Center analysis —  among the nearly 48 million people whose nutrition benefits will be cut later this week.  As we’ve previously explained, the 2009 Recovery Act’s...

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
  • ...

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...